BY JOSEPH KATO.
Police have blamed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for failing its air wing with too many restrictions.
Col Ham Kaijja, commandant of police air wing, informed Deputy Inspector General of Police, Brig Muzeyi Sabiiti, at the commissioning of two newly purchased choppers and one repaired helicopter that the air wing has limited freedom to conduct specialized flight operations because the licensing authority monitors whatever they are set out to do.
Col Sabiiti said the air wing was temporarily being housed at Kajjansi airfield at a cost but it would soon be shifted to Jinja where the police air wing is being constructed.
Efforts to seek a comment from CAA were futile as it communications officer, Vianney Luggya, could not be reached on his known contacts. Col Kaijja said the newly purchased planes 14 and 7 sitters were ready to hit the air but they were still being limited by CAA which was delayed clearing them.
“These helicopters arrived here safely and are ready to fly but they are still being restricted by CAA which hasn’t cleared them. We are waiting for clearance so that they can start performing their duties,” Col Kaijja said.
“There is a balance of Shs13b for these choppers and the company that has repaired the helicopter and assembled others is also demanding nearly Shs2b. They want this money as soon as possible but the top leadership has been notified,” the source said.
Col Kaijja explained that the choppers have capabilities of conducting nigh operations but was among other things lacking lighting facilities for safe landing, night vision training and night vision gadgets that are crucial for night operations.
“This helicopter had been down for 15 years and we had probably abandoned it but you have helped us although at a cost but it was relatively fair. It will speed up our operations,” Brig Sabiiti said.
Sources said the 14 and 7 sitter choppers had been purchased at Shs42b and Shs18b respectively.