CAA Board Investigates Aircraft Licensing Scam

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Kabona Esiara

CIVIL Aviation Authority (CAA) board is investigating the controversial licensing in March 2005 of Almiron Aviation, a cargo airline.

Almiron is a new cargo airline, operating specialised charter flights between Africa, Europe and the Middle East using a Tri-Star Lockheed L-1011-200, registration no, 5X-AAL large cargo plane.

The 55 tonne cargo aircraft started shipping fish, fresh vegetables and fruits out of Entebbe in April this year.

Almiron Aviation aircraft was formally owned by Airlift, a Congo registered airline company. Its registration number was 9Q-CVN.

"The Board of Directors CAA are to review the entire licensing and registration process of Almiron Aviation after reports in the press that there were irregularities in the licensing process," CAA Corporation Secretary and Legal Council, Mr Andrew Opolot, confirmed to Daily Monitor on June 2.

A senior cabinet minister whose name could not be confirmed is accused of using his position to force CAA technical staff to re-register the aircraft.

Management of Almiron Aviation in Kampala, however, told Daily Monitor they are operating because the aircraft passed the airworthiness test on merit.

"Ours (aircraft) was placed into Lockheed approved and supervised storage programme and then returned to service again under Lockheed and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved "return to service" programme," information about the aircraft says.

When the aircraft was flown to Uganda, some CAA surveyors assigned to assess the air-worthiness of the 1981 made aircraft declined. Under unclear circumstances, however, one surveyor, Mr Martin Agaba carried out the inspection.

In his survey report, obtained by the Daily Monitor, Agaba said the aircraft is air worthy and meets all International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

On Agaba's recommendations, the aircraft was subsequently issued with the Air Service License and Air Operator's Certificate by the Director of Air Navigation and Regulatory Services, Mr Andrew Musoke.

The CAA investigation comes at a time of increased aviation accidents in the country. The government is said to be spending a lot of money to investigate these incidents and CAA doe not want to be caught on the wrong foot.

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CAA Managing Director, Mr Ambrose Akandonda, said the government spent Shs20 million on the January 8 Antonov 12 cargo crash in Bukalaza Forest, about ten kilometres north west of Entebbe International, Airport.

Another aircraft, a B707 freighter registered in Ghana under 9G IRL, crashed at Entebbe International Airport on landing on March 19.


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