• Tue. Jun 28th, 2022

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Entebbe Airport to resume Passenger Flights in Phases

As Entebbe airport gears up to the resumption of passenger flights this Thursday, each airline company shall be limited to a single flight on a given day. The airport shall also be opened up in a phased arrangement, where the first phase shall run up to December whereas the second phase is expected to run for six months from January 2021. This was revealed by Mr. Fred Bamwesigye the Ag. Director General for Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) on Tuesday, during the inspection of Entebbe airport to show its readiness in handling passenger flights coming in and out of Uganda.
Automated Sanitizers have been placed af almost every corner within the terminal building


“UCAA in conjunction with air operators have drawn a plan for resumption of flights in phases which will scale down operations but with time, we plan to have more flights in the second phase. We shall continue to review the situation as we increase the frequencies,” noted Mr. Bamwesigye. However, Uganda airlines will be allowed to operate frequent times which, according to Mr. Bamwesigye, is due to the many responsibilities and tasks assigned to the national carrier.
The airline will restart its flights with four destinations in October, including Nairobi, Juba, Mogadishu and Dar es salaam. “Our plans for the African network expansion will continue, and we plan to launch scheduled operations to Johannesburg, Kinshasa Harare and Lusaka in the coming months,” reads a communication from Uganda Airlines.
Service Providers to resume work
Working in shifts and phases, service providers are also expected to resume operations upon presenting authentic and valid Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test certificate confirming such employee as being free from the virus. These will include airport taxi operators, waiters, waitresses, and janitors among others. However, crowds of relatives and friends who usually drop or pick-up passengers, among other meeters and greeters, shall not be allowed access to the airport so as to avoid crowding.
More space has been created in the waiting lounge to allow airation and social distancing
Other interventions
According to the new regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to address the challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic on air travel, automated sanitizers have been installed on various points within the terminal building on addition to erection of glass shields at immigration and check-in counters to avoid direct interface of airport staff with passengers.
Departing passengers shall be required to report to the airport four hours prior to their flight departure time in order to enable health screening procedures on addition to presenting authentic and valid PCR test certificates issued within 120 hours before travel. Arriving passengers shall present a PCR test certificate within 72 hours before boarding aircraft inbound to Uganda.
Revenue reduction
Latest statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimate a loss of US$419b revenue from the aviation industry. According to IATA, the full pre-Covid-19 recovery is expected to happen in 2024. According to Luggya, before Covid-19 outbreak, between 100-120 flights were being registered at Entebbe airport everyday. When passenger operations were suspended, flight handlers started seeing between 7-14 flights every day, majorly with cargo.
Glass shields have been erected at immigration and check-in counters to avoid direct interface of airport staff with passengers.
Last year, Entebbe airport saw 1.98 million passengers go through its gates, a 7.6% increase from the 2018 figure of 1.84 million. Based on these numbers, the airport authorities were ready to see at least two million travelers depart, arrive or go through the airport this year. Passenger traffic in January this year was registered at 150,000 people, which number fell by 7.1% in February to about 140,000. In April, passenger traffic fell to only 987.Available data shows that more than 8,000 staff attached to UCAA and several private companies including, DAS Handling Limited and ENHAS have been hit hard. Unlike other government agencies, UCAA  gets all its revenue from the airport operations. The government closed Entebbe airport on March 22, as one of the measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Only cargo and UN aircraft were allowed to fly in and out of Uganda. Local tourism players believe that since Entebbe is the main gateway into Uganda, reopening it is an enabler for recovery of all sectors in the economy, including the tourism industry.

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