The East African Community Secretariat will reclaim the regional aviation academy in Soroti, eastern Uganda.
“The EAC secretary general should submit a proposal for the reinstatement of the Soroti Flying School to the Sectoral Council on Transport, Communications and Meteorology,” reads the report from the 32nd meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The Council further directed the secretary general to report progress at its 33rd meeting this month.
Uganda took over the 48-year old East African Civil Aviation Academy (EACAA), renamed Soroti Flying School, after the collapse of the first EAC in 1977.
But the cash-strapped academy is now a pale shadow of what it used to be prompting threats of closure for flouting ICAO’s safety standards.
“We have agreed wholeheartedly that Soroti Flying School be taken back as an institution of the EAC. After all, that is where it originally belonged,” Uganda’s Minister for EAC Affairs Shem Bageine said.
Uganda has all along lobbied to have the school funded and managed by the EAC, saying Kampala was facing budget constraints.
On July 3, 2014, the Presidents of Kenya, Uganda’s and Rwanda conceived the idea of designating the EACAA as one of the centres of excellence in the EAC.
However, they underlined the need to make it one of the EAC’s institutions first so it could start enjoying budget from the regional body, before designating it as the centre of excellence in aviation studies.
EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera confirmed that upon reinstatement, the academy will have access to funds from EAC development partners.
However, Dr Sezibera warned, the school must be run as an autonomous institution of the EAC.
The institution offers training for commercial and private pilots, flight instructors and airport maintenance engineers among others.