The humanitarian organization’s Ugandan-based subsidiary makes history with simulator acquisition.
Air Serv Limited on Friday 5th August 2022, launched Uganda’s first ever Cessna Caravan flight simulator meant to enable the training of more pilots, engineers, and flight officers to meet the required standards of the aviation sector.
The billion-shilling flight technology comes amidst worry of a limited number of trained personnel within Uganda’s aviation industry, the majority of whom tend to move out of the country for greener pastures leaving a big gap in the industry
Air Serv Limited
Conceived in 1997 as a subsidiary of the non-profit humanitarian organization, Air Serv International, Air Serv Limited is an established provider of humanitarian and business services including air charters, aircraft maintenance, logistical planning, and hangar facilities. It has its headquarters at Entebbe Old Airport in Uganda.
Air Serv Limited began as a small operations and maintenance base for flight programs in Africa. As the need for reputable and reliable aviation services in East Africa increased, the organization ultimately became a recognized and well-respected leader in aviation throughout the region and developed a reputation for adhering to the highest standards in performance, safety, and personnel.
The company currently operates a fleet of five Cessna Caravans, all of which are wholly owned by the non-profit organization, Air Serv International. The use of light aircraft in emergencies has been common in Africa, especially in humanitarian response efforts over the last several decades.
With a focus on safety, Air Serv Limited is fully invested in the development and future of aviation in Africa. Following the expansion of their training program and facilities, staff are provided with high-quality training and meet strict levels of operating standards to serve their clients and partners.
Training of personnel
The Redbird CRV-S simulator was unveiled at Air Serv’s training facility at their offices in Entebbe, Uganda. In attendance were several senior representatives from Uganda Airlines, The Uganda Professional Pilots Association, Uganda Air Force, and local flight schools. The Director General of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Fred Bamwesigye, praised Air Serv’s acquisition of the simulator calling It to state of the art and a big milestone for Uganda’s aviation sector.
The Director General also noted the importance of the new equipment in the training of personnel stating that “it is important for student pilots to familiarize themselves virtually in simulation before getting hands-on with aircraft.”
According to Johnson Mugulusi, the Managing Director Air Serv, a good number of pilots are getting closer to their retirement age leaving a need for more trained personnel. To remedy this, Air Serv plans to train about 70 personnel – 25 pilots, 25 engineers and 20 flight operations officers in the next two years with the new equipment at the forefront of the proposed revolution.
In addition to its own training program, Air Serv intends to offer simulator access to local flight schools, private pilots, and fellow air service providers on an hourly rental basis. The Cessna Caravan simulator is the first in the country to be made publicly available to civilian and student pilots.
Working directly with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and International Civil Aviation Organization to ensure utmost compliance, flight hours obtained through the simulator will count towards a Caravan type rating.
The aviation industry is still experiencing several challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic with recovery efforts having been made worse by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
“We were not generating any revenue whilst still maintaining operations and after we got out of it the war between Russia and Ukraine has made the situation worse because all costs of operation have gone up,” said Mr. Johnson Mugulusi.
The simulator is expected to lower training costs since training on aircraft is highly expensive and has been made worse by rising fuel prices. Aircraft maintenance fees should also see new lows due to less damage to the fleet.
In conclusion, Air Serv’s latest acquisition should aid their short and long-term efforts in filling the demand for trained personnel in the region’s fast growing aviation sector as well as remedy the recent spike in operation costs.
By Ronnie Afema