MIAMI – Ms. Joy Kabatsi, Uganda’s State Minister for Transport, has threatened to suspend Uganda Airlines’ (UR) chairman of the board of directors if he does not answer to 12 critical challenges affecting the national carrier. Ms. Kabatsi reported the issues that emerged in a meeting that Mr. Godfrey Ahawe Perez allegedly declined to attend in her April 26 correspondence to Perez.

“In light of your failure to attend the meeting with your board members, I have decided that it is appropriate to clarify to you the topics that were to be addressed during the canceled meeting,” she wrote. “By May 7, 2021, you must provide me with a detailed report on all of the issues listed above. If you do not respond as requested, I will have no choice but to request that you be suspended by the shareholders,” the correspondence continues.

Some of the concerns posed include why the bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft certification has never been completed, the lack of a certification timetable for the A330-800 Neo aircraft, and unutilized ground handling equipment acquired four months ago.

“The airline is paying ground rent and storage charges despite the fact that ground handling equipment was purchased and has not been used for four months. Did we get our money’s worth? The equipment’s costs are questionable. What is the airline’s plan to begin self-handling?” Ms. Kabatsi probed.

Uganda Airline A330-800 in Toulouse | Photo: Airbus

Demands Unmet

According to The Daily Monitor, the minister also wanted to know why heads of departments and their technical staff could not produce manuals that meet Uganda Civil Aviation Authority requirements, and what steps are being taken to resolve the capacity gap.

Ms. Kabatsi demands to know why the cost of simulator training is so high, and if the training period can be increased from six months to one year without violating regulations. She also sought to know if the airline has implemented an adequate training program for essential personnel and if the CEO has neglected to discipline errant employees.

Her demands come just days after her senior colleague, Gen Katumba Wamala, asked a portion of the senior Airlines management team to leave the company for at least three months to enable an internal investigation. 

According to ministry sources, the Executive has been unimpressed with the airline’s results for several months, citing allegations of misuse of office and financial mismanagement. According to a new report by the Auditor General, the airline lost Shs15bn in the fiscal year 2018/2019.

Back in October 2020, UR was set to receive a brand new Airbus A330-800 and was planning new long-haul routes for 2021.

Featured image: Pierre Marechal/Airways