The move was announced on January 7 2022 by the Dubai civil Aviation Authority. Passengers from Uganda will be allowed entry into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) effective January 8, 2022.
According to Vianney Luggya, the Manager for Public Affairs under Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), the suspension was lifted with immediate effect. “Passengers planning travel to Dubai can now get in touch with their respective airlines to schedule their flights,” said Luggya.
Dubai is the number one destination for passengers departing Uganda who mainly include businessmen, job seekers and tourists among others. “In 2020 the Middle East which includes Dubai and Doha accounted for 21 percent of the total passengers’ traffic from Entebbe,” Luggya noted.
He added that in December 2021, Entebbe international airport handled about 124,402 arriving and departing passengers up from 111,600 in November 2021. The December figures had 63,311 arriving passengers, 61,091 departing passengers plus 7,139 who were in transit.
However, other requirements are still needed. Among these include, two PCR tests for passengers entering Dubai and and those in transit.
“The first PCR test is undertaken within 48 hours from time of sample collection to boarding aircraft and the second is undertaken 6 hours before the fight’s departure time. In addition another PCR test is undertaken on arrival in Dubai,” the UCAA Spokesperson explained.
Meanwhile, Shakirah Rahim, the public relations manager for Uganda Airlines Public Relations Manager expressed optimism over the lifting of the suspension. “We are going to position our Airbus 8330 Neo tomorrow for the evening flights. Schedules will resume the way they have been with four flights a week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday,” she expressed.
UAE had banned transit of passengers from Uganda last month through its airports over concerns of Covid-19 which left many labour companies in a crisis since most of their clients in the Middle East use Dubai airport to connect to other airports and destinations.
Apart from the Uganda Airlines, other Airlines that directly ply the Dubai route include, Emirates and Fly Dubai. However, there are other flights that connect to Dubai such as Kenya airways, Ethiopian airlines among others.