The manufacturer of Bombardier Aircrafts has given Uganda up to Friday, March 29, 2019 to pay $41.5m (Over Shs153bn) for the delivery of the first batch of two Bombardier CRJ900 aircrafts.
Recently, government announced that the first 2 planes out of 6 are ready and await to be delivered at the end of this month.
However, while meeting Parliamentary committee on Budget last Friday, Works and Transport minister Eng Ntege Azuba, said that Uganda will face “severe reputational damage” or even lose the planes until 2020 if they default again on the payment of the aircrafts. Azuba told the committee that Uganda Airlines defaulted on the payment of the first aircraft before negotiations were reached with Bombardier to reschedule the payment date.
“Government has already defaulted on the first batch of the $20.7m which was due to Bombardier on February 18, as being the initial scheduled delivery bill for the first aircraft. But negotiations have been going on and they agreed that if we pay on the delivery date of the second aircraft then we will not pay any penalties,” Azuba said.
She added, “Uganda Airlines must now ensure that the payment of $41.5m for the first two aircrafts must reach the Bombardier Account by 29th of March, 2019 and any further delays in securing these funds will cause severe reputational damage to both Uganda Airlines and the government and we will also severely impact the project timetable and projected launch of the airlines.”
Azuba added that Uganda will also pay parking fines for the two CRJ planes which are ready if payments are not done on time. The two planes are expected to arrive to Uganda on April 08, 2019, according to minster Azuba.
“The technical team is already in Canada to start the aircraft acceptance processes while awaiting approval and transfer of funds to pay for the first two aircrafts by the due date of 29th, March 2019,” she said.
Uganda Airlines will secure four Bombardier CRJ planes each costing $27.7m (Shs102.5bn) and two A330-800neo made by Airbus each costing $108m. As of now, government has only paid about $6m for each of the CRJ planes and $1.1m for each Airbus plane.