Police to sell off sh28bn aircraft for being expensive to maintain

The Uganda Police has announced it is set to dispose of the Piaggio Avanti 11 Evo aircraft it bought in 2019 for a whopping 28 billion shillings and acquire a compatible one that aligns with the country’s environment.

According to Police Spokesperson Mr Fred Enanga, the decision comes after realizing that the Piaggio aircraft has already covered a total flying distance of only 117 kilometres yet it was not designed for non-tarmacked roadways, thus making it expensive to maintain by the force.

“Since its acquisition, it has only covered a total flying time of 117 hours, because it is not designed for non-tarmacked runways, undergoes expensive mandatory inspections, insurance and AMO with no benefits realised. In addition, the aircraft parts are very expensive given the nature and category of luxury,” Enanga said.

Enanga, who Friday led journalists to a guided tour of the aircraft at the police wing in Entebbe explained that after realizing this, the matter was reported to Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the Minister of Internal Affairs who gave no objection to the disposal of the unserviceable aircraft and procurement of the new compatible helicopter.

“The Hon. Minister gave no objection to the disposal of the unserviceable aircraft and procurement of the new compatible helicopter. A composite Board of Survey on 19.10.2022. Inspected the aircraft and valued it at USD 4.271, 709.06. The value that was considered in the valuation analysis by Board of Survey includes; Depreciated replacement cost valuation, technical condition, based valuation, Blue book values, current marketing running prices, a minimum of USD 100,681.79 to replace expired parts and it being the only aircraft on the African continent,” Mr Enanga stated.

“Therefore, the replacement of the fixed-wing aircraft will provide the Police Airwing with an additional operational and effective crime-fighting tool. So far, several types of aircraft have been reviewed, with manufacturers and in total consideration of the aircraft possible loads and operations of the Uganda Police,” he added.

Enanga however dismissed claims that the aircraft had already been disposed of in silence saying the process to dispose of the aircraft follows the PPDA process and police have already written to the authority.

“As we conclude, it is considered an option of the UPF that the Paggio Avanti 11 Evo is disposed of and a new generation compatible aircraft acquired, through the trade-in procurement sourcing method, ans in line with the PPDA laws and regulations,” he said.

The Uganda Police Airwing is a support unit, which provides aerial patrols, search and rescue, rapid response and troop transportation, aerial surveillance for pirates and other criminal elements, aerial assault, insertion and extraction, VIP transportation, medevac and casevac.

The unit which also carries out anti-terrorism roles, currently operates 4 Aircraft, comprising of 03 Helicopters, and 01 Fixed Wing Aircraft, 5X-PEF/PI80 Piaggio Avanti II Evo-9 seater, which was acquired in June 2019.

Inside the police aircraft

In 2023, the Airwing Unit using the 3 Helicopters, responded to multiple incidents in the Karamoja region, the Rwenzori region and the cities of Kampala, Jinja, Hoima, Mbarara, Lira, Gulu, Soroti, and Arua among others, which makes it an integral and essential part of policing in the country.

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