Uganda Air Cargo (UCC, Entebbe) is set to be revived after the Cabinet of President Yoweri Museveni approved a recapitalisation of USD266 million earlier this year.

Uganda Air Cargo Corporation (UACC) is a subsidiary of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) which is in turn controlled by the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF). The carrier lost its air operator's certificate (AOC) in 2014 when its fleet - which included two Lockheed Hercules and two Y12s - was grounded resulting in key contracts with entities, such as the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNO, Brindisi), being rescinded. Since then, it has been dormant despite numerous attempts at revival.

According to an auditor-general report for the financial year ending June 30, 2022, UACC made an annual net loss of UGX9.4 billion Ugandan shillings (USD2.48 million) despite being owed UGX21.5 billion (USD5.68 million) in uncollected debts with the defence ministry being a key debtor with over UGX12 billion (USD3.17 million) in accounts due.

As such, General Manager General Nakibus Lakara (a former UPDF Chief of Staff) told a Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs this past weekend that the decision to extend the required funding to UACC was taken by Cabinet in May via Directive 185 (CT2023) under which the funds should be disbursed over a period of four years in tranches of USD103 million, USD110 million, USD23 million, and USD3 million, starting this coming financial year.

The Independent newspaper said the funding will be used to undertake avionics upgrades as well as modernise UACC's L-100-30 Hercules 5X-UCF (msn 382-4610) which is in Jordan for maintenance after suffering a bird strike in Sudan. The turboprop, acquired by the Idi Amin regime in the 1970s, still has over 3,000 flight hours once revamped, Lakara said. The other Hercules, msn 4283, is however destined to be scrapped just like the two Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation turboprops.

In terms of other projects, UACC will also lease in an A320-200 for UPDF troop movements, lease an A330-200F (or 60-tonne payload equivalent) for cargo flights to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, and procure spares, components and other consumables.

Fellow state-owned carrier Uganda Airlines (UR, Entebbe) has also been dabbling with the prospect of acquiring its own freighters to help Uganda tap into booming export demand for agri-products.