UCAA says Entebbe Airport ready to receive 3.5m passengers annually

Entebbe, (UG):- The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has revealed that Entebbe Airport will soon be able to accommodate 3.5 million passengers annually as it enhances the position and significance of the country’s main airport.

Currently, the airport’s passenger handling capacity stands at 2 million annually, but UCAA Director General Fred Bamwesigye anticipates nearly doubling this capacity by the end of the year with ongoing developments.

During a briefing with journalists on Friday, UCAA top management highlighted the progress of developments, which include the commissioning of a new passenger terminal on January 10, 2024, just before hosting two major conferences: the Non-Aligned Movement conference and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Speakers and Presiding Officers conference.

The new terminal has significantly improved the ambience and passenger experience, offering more space and comfort.

Additionally, the Authority has completed a new 100,000-ton cargo terminal and cargo apron, along with resurfacing two others for passenger aircraft. Ongoing works include the construction of another 200,000 square meter passenger terminal, expected to further increase capacity.

These new terminals will be interconnected by suspended bridges to the original terminal constructed in 1971, which will be upgraded and modernized to align with current standards and technology.

These developments, including resealing two runways, adding a new one, developing new aprons and a cargo center, plus two terminals, are being carried out at a cost of US $200 million by China Communication Company (CCC).

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Bamwesigye, along with his deputy Ms Olive Lumoonya and Haji Ayub Sooma, the director for Airports and Aviation Security, conducted journalists around the work, reporting the completion level of Phase I of the expansion, beautification, and modernization at 90%.

This expansion aligns with the Authority’s vision of increasing its capacity to handle more passengers and cargo to boost revenue.

Bamwesigye noted unprecedented passenger traffic of 80,719 arrivals and 91,271 departures in March 2024, totaling 171,990 passengers for the month or an average of 5,548 passengers per day.

Annual totals for 2023 reached 1.93 million passengers, compared to 1.8 million passengers before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019. “We should be patriotic by trying to avoid putting some of those reports on social media. This is our country, we should love it,” he said.

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“The comment came in the aftermath of very heavy rains last week which saw stormwater logs for a few hours in some parts of the Airport. The rains, put by the National Meteorology Authority at 106.8 millimetres were unusual,” Bamwesigye explained.

Uganda recently underwent an aviation security audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), with management optimistic about achieving favorable scores.

These audits are crucial for ensuring the security, safety, and efficiency of aviation operations and systems, as mandated by the global organization.

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