Barely four months after the resumption of commercial passenger flights, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has recorded an average increase in the number of passengers using Entebbe Airport.
Fred Bamwesigye the UCAA acting director-general noted that Entebbe Airport recorded 42,633 international passengers in October when commercial passenger flights had just resumed.
“Among those, 23,867 were arriving while 15,461 were departing and 3,305 were transit passengers,” noted Bamwesigye, putting the average number of passengers who used Entebbe Airport, at 1,375 in October.
He further noted that the daily average increased to 1,676 passengers in November with about 41,905 who were recorded in the month’s first 25 days.
“On the side of cargo, Entebbe Airport handled an impressive 5,542 metric tonnes of cargo in October 2020,” Bamwesigye stated.
It is upon this background that the aviation authority found it necessary to increase the number of flights per airline per day from one (as earlier directed), to at least two flights.
However, Uganda Airlines continues to operate frequently which, according to Bamwesigye, is due to the many responsibilities and tasks assigned to the national carrier, and given the fact that Entebbe Airport is the home of the airline.
Although UCAA continues to record a steady increase in the number of passengers who use Entebbe Airport upon resumption of commercial passenger flights, the numbers are still low compared to the average of 5,000 passengers who used the airport on a daily, before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Upgrade and expansion
In order to maintain strict observation of the COVID-19 standard operating procedures such as social distancing, UCAA recently completed the reconfiguration of the passenger boarding lounges by removing the partitions to provide more space and sitting area in the terminal.
Part of the first floor of the new terminal building was opened to facilitate departing passengers with adequate queuing space at the check-in counters.
According to Eng. Daniel Kiyimba, glass shields were erected at check-in counters, immigration booths, and facilitation desks to reduce direct contact between airport staff and passengers.
“The overall upgrade and expansion works which are being undertaken by China Communication Construction Company, is at 72% level of completion,” intimated Bamwesigye.
Vianney Luggya the UCAA public affairs manager said, all the improved initiatives will go a long way in improving safety, the efficiency of airport systems, and attainment of sustainability through the strengthening of the resources available at UCAA.