Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has listed a thread of measures including banning airport staff from using personal mobile phones while on duty.
The measures issued on Friday, January 20, 2023, seek to avert growing cases of corruption, and bribery but also increase customer service levels, officials said at a press.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Deputy Director General Ms. Olive Birungi Lumunyo said enforcement of the directive takes immediate effect.
Ms. Birungi said that the use of personal phones and other devices by airport staff while on duty had provided a fertile ground for corruption and bribery tendencies at the airport.
“In 2021, the Authority issued a directive to all airport stakeholders urging them to inform their staff who interface with passengers in operational areas that the use of private mobile phones is prohibited while on duty within the terminal building. It is only the supervisors that were exempted,” Ms. Lumonye said
While there may have been laxity in the implementation of this directive, she told reporters, it is now being re-emphasized and is going to be fully enforced.
“So what are we going to do right from yesterday is to implement the decision, enforce it, follow it up to ensure that any staff from whatever agencies who has a direct interface with the customer in the different areas does not walk or use their phone while serving a customer,” she added.
UCAA has also directed all airport stakeholders to wear name tags, a development they say will ease identification.
Authorities have also resolved that after a passenger has gone past Immigration on departure, recalling them or offloading them for any reason would only take place with the express permission of the Director of Airports and Aviation security or General Manager-EIA of UCAA.
After a passenger has gone through immigration on departure, recalling them or offloading them for any reason, it will require approval of the director of airports and General Manager. Why are we taking that action? Because if you notice some of the complaints that have come in from the public or from the social media, is that, after they’ve gone through the process and the about board, they’re offloaded,” the Deputy Director General said.
She added: “So the only way we can stop that is by putting that kind of measure and say you cannot afford the passenger who has gone through immigration because immigration is the last contact. So, we believe that will be one way of reducing or stopping the vice that has been going on.”
The other measures include playing messages on Flight Information Display screens at the airport alerting/reminding passengers not to be compelled to pay any money to anyone in exchange for a favour at the airport.
On Thursday, social media was awash with allegations from travelers who claim that some immigration officers are demanding bribes before clearing them to take flights.
Airport authorities have admitted that there were cases of extortion but said they’re being investigated.
This website understands that a top Civil Aviation official has since been arrested by airport security to aid with investigations.