Director General Fred Bamwesigye says plans to separate regulation and airport management is UCAA's brain child but still being discussed in-house before an informed report is given to Cabinet for consideration and way forward.
Plans are under way to divest the Uganda Civil Aviation
Authority (UCAA) from managing Entebbe International Airport so that the organization concentrates on regulation function.
The plan was disclosed on Tuesday by the UCAA director Fred Bamwesigye at the UCAA Stakeholders Engagement Breakfast
Meeting to mark international aviation week at the Serena Hotel – Kampala.
The week is celebrated annually by aviation stakeholders
worldwide to take stock of the industry and assess challenged and
opportunities. The celebration was held
under the theme: Advancing Innovations
for Global Aviation Development.
Bamwesigye said plans to separate regulation and airport
management was the brain child of UCAA but was still being discussed in-house
before an informed report is given to Cabinet for consideration and way
The disclosure was prompted by a proposal by a retired
industry expert, Barry Kashambo during a key note address. Kashambo had proposed that the move is an
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommendation he would
recommend because it improves oversight.
Kashambo served as ICAO Eastern and Southern Africa regional
director from 2015 to 2023. Earlier on
he had served at the East African Civil Aviation Safety and Security Agency
(CASSOA) and different capacities at UCAA. He boasts of over fourty years of experience in aviation service in
different areas including aviation engineering, state over sight systems,
security and so on.
In response to Kashambo’s proposal, Bamwesigye said UCAA was
not averse to the proposal and had already started discussion about it. When a position is ready, it would be handed
over to Cabinet for action, Bamwesigye said adding that major intention
is to improve service to clients.
Transport Minister Katumba Wamala who was chief guest at the
occasion also said that as government he agreed with Kashambo on the
proposal. “UCAA should be in position to
concentrate on regulation and management can be done by someone else,” he said.
Kashambo during a panel discussion later, said the
combination of Airport management and industry posed conflict of interest
problems. He criticized the low investment in aviation by African
states, calling on a scale up to uplift the industry to catalyse other areas of
A PhD candidate in Strategic
Management Studies at Strathmore University – Nairobi, Kashambo said African
aviation had continued and persistent deficiencies including regulation,
personnel and safety and security and these needed to be addressed to put the
continent on a better footing. He
disclosed, Africa accounted for only 2% of the aviation industry’s global
traffic, an appalling indicator.
He called upon Uganda to link tourism to aviation to bring
in more revenue to the country. He gave
an example of 1976 attack on Entebbe by Israel forces after Arab hijackers
landed at the airport, being an opportunity Uganda has not exploited to the
best. “That Netanyahu (Israel Premier)’s brother, (Jonathan) Netanyahu was
killed at Entebbe – that alone you know how many Israelis would be coming here
to see what happened?” Kashambo mused as he suggested that in other countries, the
ruins of that deadly rescue mission would have been preserved for tourism
Commenting on UCAA performance of 72% in the audit by ICAO
last September, Kahsambo said there was need to work for better performance
because the global average considered good rating stood at 75%. It was specifically the area of security and
accident investigation that was said to have pulled down Uganda’s performance, an
area where Kashambo promised support at no cost when Uganda is audited next.
In his remarks minister Katumba Wamala commended the key
note speaker for being candid and not “putting icing on the cake,” criticism
that would help UCAA and government improve the aviation sector.
He also pleaded with members of Parliament especially of the
Budget and National Economy Committees to be mindful of the strategic
importance of the aviation sector and the need for resources when it comes to
Katumba called on UCAA management to ensure the country performs
better when subjected to the forthcoming civil aviation security audit in
January and February 2024.
Commenting on expansion and modification works being
undertaken at the Entebbe International Airport ahead of the Non-Aligned
Movement and Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments
conference early in January 2024, the minister said he had been assured all
would be complete by December to ensure better “ambiance” to the guests.
He urged Entebbe Airport staff and all residents of Entebbe
to exhibit Uganda’s hospitality to the visitors when they arrive.
UCAA Board chairman retired Justice Steven Kavuma said Uganda
had made many firsts in the industry and urged for focus and commitment to