Parliament Gears Up for Quick Amendments to Aviation Bill Following International Audit

Legislators are poised to expedite amendments to the Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2024 in response to impactful suggestions from an international audit. After the First Reading of the Bill by the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa instructed the Committee on Physical Infrastructure to swiftly scrutinize it and present to Parliament by Thursday, 01 February 2024.

“This pertains to certifying our airport to sustain traffic. It stems from an audit insisting on completion within a specified period, or they revoke our certificate,” stated Tayebwa during the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 30 January 2024. Gen. Katumba Wamala highlighted Uganda’s obligation as a signatory to the International Convention on Civil Aviation to adhere to its global standards and recommended practices.

He mentioned that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit from 06 September to 18 September 2023 and the upcoming universal security audit from 30 January to 08 February 2024 aim to assess Uganda’s compliance with safety and security standards.

The September audit identified deficiencies in the primary legislation of the Civil Aviation Act, potentially exposing Uganda to adverse audit findings. Katumba Wamala emphasized that a significant safety concern finding signals to the world that air travel to Uganda or on any Ugandan aircraft is unsafe.

The proposed Bill seeks to amend the existing Civil Aviation Authority Act, Cap. 354 enacted in 1991, aligning it with the Chicago Convention. Upon passing, the government Bill will empower inspectors with unrestricted access to aircraft, aerodromes, and aviation facilities, along with recognizing agreements of third-party States under Article 83 bis of the Chicago Convention. This article aids in structuring cross-border aviation transactions while ensuring safety oversight.