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Entebbe. Air Uganda will next week inform its workers whether they still have jobs or not. “We don’t know how long our aircraft will remain grounded, our staff have received their June salary and everyone will be coming to know the company’s plans for their future employment next week,” the company’s Managing Director, Mr Cornwell Muleya, told Saturday Monitor by telephone on Thursday.

Jobs of about 230 employees are in balance following the suspension of the company’s operations after Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) withdrew its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) over safety reasons last month. Operations of two other companies, Transafrik Limited and the Ministry of Defence-owned Uganda Air Cargo Corporation, were also suspended for the same reasons.

The airlines were suspended after a review of their systems, structures and operations by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).Mr Muleya said majority of their staff are on leave apart from those handling crucial administration like refund payments to the company’s contractual clients and passengers from the United States, Europe and Asia who had earlier pre-booked. According to Mr Muleya, the company has since been forced to return its leased aircraft following the withdrawal of its licence.

“The aircraft is meant to fly. The suppliers put covenants in the contracts that demand the aircraft has to be relocated to a facility of their choice for the period of (any) grounding,” said Mr Muleya. The planes belonged to GECAS, a global conglomerate based in France that leases out aircraft and related equipment to airlines.

He said the airline has suffered enormous cost implications including incurred expenses, foregone revenue and brand erosion.

“People are trying to build an element of safety yet the problem is with CAA,” said Mr Muleya, adding that the regulating authority should own up to its mistakes such that the next audit in five years finds no mistakes.

However, Transport minister James Abraham Byandala dismissed Air Uganda’s claims and insisted the airline had seriously compromised safety of passengers on many occasions.

eainebyoona@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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