Ms Joy Kabatsi, State Minister for Transport, has threatened to suspend the chairman of Uganda Airlines’ board of directors if he does not respond to 12 important issues affecting the national airline.
According to Ms Kabatsi’s April 26 communication to Mr Ahawe Perez, Mr Ahawe allegedly refused to attend a meeting in which some issues arose.
In response to your refusal to attend the meeting, she wrote, “I find it necessary to inform you of the issues that were to be discussed at the aborted meeting.”
The communication continues, “I expect you to submit a comprehensive report on the issues outlined above by May 7, 2021. If you fail to provide the information requested, I will have no other option but to ask the shareholders to suspend you.”
These issues include the fact that certification of the CRJ900 bombardier aircraft has never been finalized, the lack of a timeline for certification of the A330Neo aircraft, and unutilised ground handling equipment purchased four months ago.
Even though ground handling equipment was purchased four months ago and not used, the airline continues to pay rent and storage charges. Therefore, it seems that they are not getting value for money. Is there any way for the airline to start handling their own cargo?
Moreover, the minister demanded to know why departments are lacking the necessary technical expertise and capacity to develop manuals that are acceptable to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, and what steps must be taken to address this problem.
Mrs Kabatsi would like to know why the cost of simulator training is too high and whether the training interval can be extended from 6 months to a year since the training intervals do not conflict with the regulations.
She also wants to know whether the airline has developed an appropriate training programme for critical staff and whether the chief executive officer has failed to discipline errant staff.
Her demands come barely days after her senior colleague, Gen Katumba Wamala, called for an internal investigation to be conducted on the senior Airlines management team.
Sources within the ministry have suggested that the Executive has not been impressed with the performance of the airline over the last several months amid reports of abuse of office and financial mismanagement.
Recent audit reports indicate that the airline posted a loss of Shs15b for the 2018/2019 financial year.