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Air Uganda remains grounded after Uganda canceled all international licences

Air Uganda is counting heavy losses after it and other air operators in Uganda were grounded by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda headquarters at Entebbe.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda headquarters at Entebbe.

The airline has been grounded for almost three weeks after the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda withdrew all international air operator certificates (AOC) for airlines registered in Uganda.

News reports say the decision to recall AOCs is meant to enhance aviation safety in Uganda. Critics however say that the Ugandan government is being irresponsible by grounding airlines instead of sorting out weaknesses in the regulatory environment.

Air Uganda has been unable to fly since 17 June 2014. Since then, the airline has booked its passengers on other carriers. On 4 July, Air Uganda asked travellers to return its tickets and collect refunds.

Since Ugandan air operators were grounded, there are reports that international air travel has become very expensive for passengers into and out of the country. The only way of travelling by air is with foreign airlines including Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Ethiopian Airlines. The problem with foreign airlines is that flights are routed through their hubs, making tickets expensive. For instance, someone flying with Kenya Airways from Entebbe to Juba, South Sudan, will be flown to Nairobi to take a connecting flight. The longer route results in higher ticket prices.

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