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The East African : July 28th 2014
6 Deadlock; no deal on the EPA talks yet TURN FROM PAGE 5 before the October 1 deadline for concluding the EPA. “The meeting was for sen- ior government officials and since we did not agree, it will have to be referred to the ministerial level. The disagreements need a political solution,” Ms Ngige said. However, both sides ex- pressed hope that the pending issues will be resolved. “There is no question at all of collapse of EAC exports to the EU. Four of the five EAC states enjoy ‘everything but arms’ trade arrangements with the EU; this means, they will continue with duty free and quota free access to EU markets, just as they do now,” said Mr Ryan. According to him, only Kenya will suffer on its cut flower sales to the EU. “From October 1 exports of cut flowers from Kenya will fall under the GPS (Generalised System of Preferences) regime, and even then it will still benefit from certain duty discounts into the EU through having MFN (most favoured nation) status. But, it will pay duties on its cut flower exports to the EU, inevitably, as a result of the ab- “Only Kenya will suffer on its cut flower sales to the EU.” Michael Ryan, head of the EU delegation to Rwanda sence of an EPA with the EU,” Mr Ryan added. Kenya exports flowers to the EU worth Ksh46.3 billion ($537 million) and vegetables worth more than Ksh26.5 billion ($307 million) annually. The EU takes about 40 per cent of Kenya’s fresh produce exports. A recent report by the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment showed that senior officials had by the end of May reached an agreement on the rules of origin text as well as the most favoured nation (MFN) clause. The MFN clause would bar EAC members from entering into bilateral preferential trade arrangements with countries that have no similar arrangements with the EU. Additional reporting by Jeff Otieno The EastAfrican NEWS JULY 26 - AUGUST 1, 2014 AIRLINES VERSUS REGULATOR Air Uganda at the Juba International Airport. Picture: Morgan Mbabazi Grounded airlines plan suit against aviation authority The ai≥lines want to seek damages fo≥ amended and backdated ce≥tificates By JULIUS BARIGABA Special Correspondent A s the withdrawal of licences to operate inter- national routes continues to hit Ugandan airlines, it has emerged that the some of the grounded operators were issued backdated Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) that could turn out to be grounds for legal action against the Civil Aviation Authority. Executives of at least two REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS The African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) Project Request for Application Proposals for Internet Exchange Points in Southern and Eastern Africa to be Supported to grow into Regional Internet Exchange Points Deadline for submission of proposals: 29/08/2014: 1700 Hours Addis Ababa Time (+3 GMT) Complete Information and The Application Form Can Be Downloaded on http://au.int/en/Bids of the six airlines told The EastAfrican that they were contemplating a suit seeking damages from CAA for amending and backdating their AOCs. “Our legal advisers are looking at this option,” said Tim Cooper, a manager at Ndege Juu Africa. “We want to understand if the CAA action has a valid legal basis.” Jeremy McKelvie, direc- tor of Kampala Aeroclub and Flight Training Centre, also said his company had not received notice of any safety concerns on its aircraft or operations from CAA, nor the basis for amending and backdating the airline’s AOC on June 6, 11 days before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) concluded an audit on the CAA. Initially, CAA on June 17 wrote to three operators — Air Uganda, Uganda Air Cargo Corporation and Transafrik Uganda Ltd — informing them that they had lost their AOCs following an audit by ICAO. The Uganda industry regulator also wrote to the three companies to start a process of recertification before they could resume operations. Kampala Aeroclub and Ndege Juu Africa are among airlines that operate out of the auxiliary Kajjansi air- ICAO 2008 AUDIT ABOVE AVERAGE: Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority ranked above global average standards on the quality of aerodromes, airworthiness and accident investigation. DEFICIENT: On air navigation services it scored 21.54 per cent, against the global average of 55.64 per cent. port, near Kampala, and had renewed their AOCs in November and December 2013 respectively, with flights to regional destinations especially South Sudan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the grounding, the airlines have relinquished the routes and lost business. “As an industry, we are talking tens of millions of dollars, since this happened. The [business] concern we relinquished has been taken over by Kenyan operators,” said Mr Cooper. Documents seen by The EastAfrican reveal that the two airlines remained in the dark over the restrictions placed on them until CAA wrote to them on June 23 that the ICAO audit meant a recertification process for all AOCs for international flights. The regulator then caused a storm when it issued a statement in the press on July 21 saying that there were safety concerns following the ICAO audit over certain operators which resulted in the immedi- “We want to understand if CAA’s action has a valid legal basis.” Tim Cooper, accountable manager of Ndege Juu Africa Operations, licensing legislation and general organisation were also below global average standards. COURT BATTLE: If it happens, the airlines will seek CAA’s admission that its certification processes are flawed, and apology for inferring that the airlines had serious safety issues. ate withdrawal of their AOCs for international flights. But the ICAO audit, con- cluded on June 17, noted that it was Uganda’s CAA — rather than the operators — that had “a significant safety concern,” which meant the Authority did not provide sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of applicable ICAO Standards. The state, through CAA also undertook to regularly report progress on this matter to ICAO, hence the immediate withdrawal of AOCs for all airlines registered in the country who lost their licences to operate cross border flights. Copies of letters obtained by The EastAfrican show that the companies wrote to CAA on July 9, and again on July 21 and 23, after the regulator’s statement in the press, but the Authority has not answered. Air Uganda, the other casualty of the grounding, has “not made a decision to claim compensation or sue at this stage,” according to CEO Cornwell Muleya, who also argued that the situation the airlines find themselves in is as a result of deficiencies in CAA’s certification process. The EastAfrican could not obtain comment from CAA over its action despite a written request.
July 21st 2014
Aug 4th 2014