Before the exit, also known as Brexit, airlines operating flights to the UK and other EU countries would apply for certificates from the European Aviation Safety Agency-EASA. But after Brexit, new Airlines must apply for a Country Operator's Permit from the UK, a process that takes longer compared to the EU timelines.
Plans by the Uganda national carrier
to launch direct flights to London, United Kingdom have been hindered by changes
in aviation procedures that came after Great Britain exited the European Union bloc.
Before the exit, also known as Brexit,
airlines operating flights to the UK and other EU countries would apply for
certificates from the European Aviation Safety Agency-EASA. But after Brexit, new
Airlines must apply for a Country Operator's Permit from the UK, a process that takes longer compared to the EU timelines.
Uganda airline secured slots for departures and landing at
London Heathrow Airport after receiving its two Airbus A330-800 Neo air crafts in
December 2020 and February 2021. The airline had earlier submitted an application
for an Air Operator's Certificate to operate in the UK and expected to commence
the flights in January 2021. However, this had not been issued by January 2021
when Brexit took effect.
Jenifer Bamuturaki, the Acting
CEO of Uganda Airlines, says the airline has to wait for the UK Civil Aviation
Authority to issue guidelines and aviation certification requirements to
operate flights to London.
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The UK Civil Aviation Authority
held a meeting with officials from Uganda Airlines, the Uganda Mission in
London and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority in May 2021, after which it was
announced that Uganda would commence flights in September 2021.
Bamuturaki, however, says the UK
Civil Aviation Authority notified Uganda last October that the airline would
have to apply for a Third Country Operator's Permit, a process which takes not
less than six months. She is now optimistic that flights to London will commence
in June 2022.
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Michael Kaliisa, the Manager
Corporate Quality at Uganda Airlines says the airline is seeking approval for
the permit to fly and also sourcing for service providers for catering, fuel,
and airport staff among others at London Heathrow Airport.
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UK CAA says to continue operations
to the UK after its exit from the EU, a valid Third Country Operators certificate
must be in place. "If you currently hold a UK-TCO then that remains in
force until further notice and no further action is necessary.”