Several international airlines have written to government seeking to have Entebbe Airport reopened so they could resume flights to and out of Uganda.
President Museveni in March directed for the closure of Entebbe Airport and all other entries and exits to the country for passenger flights to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
The directive was initially for 32 days but has since been extended indefinitely after the extension of the lockdown.
However, government recently partially lifted the lockdown.
According to sources within the Ministry of Works and Transport, several airlines have asked government to reopen the airport so that they can resume flights since the partial lifting of the lockdown.
Among airlines that have already expressed interest at resuming business include Emirates and Ethiopian airlines.
“Emirates wrote several weeks back saying they want to start operations, but we shall have to wait for a decision from bigger meetings,” a source said.
The source also intimated that one of the issue that is yet to be decided on is the fact that when asked for their view, officials from Uganda Airlines, and Civil Aviation Authority reportedly said that they would require more time to have operations resume without glitches.
“The minister of works and the officials will seek a harmonized position when they meet up with the president. Following his recommendations with consultation, a date to open the airport will be arrived at. My anticipation though is that it will resume soon,” the source added.
Since the closure of business at the airport, staff attached to private companies like DAS handling limited and Entebbe Handling Services (ENHAS) that carry out general ground handling at Entebbe have been hit hard.
The company workers have had to put up with half payments whereas the situation appears to worsen as many might be laid off if the airport remains closed for more months.
According to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Uganda has indicated June 26th as the tentative date for reopening the airport.
“All flights to and from Uganda aerodromes are suspended unto 26 June 2020,” a note to ICAO from Uganda reads.
However, no new dates have not been communicated, meaning there is a high likelihood of resuming business on the said date of June, 26,2020.
An email from Uganda’s protocol team to ICAO also reiterated June 26 as the date for which air prohibitions cease.
For now, it remains a matter between President Museveni and the Ugandan officials on when to reopen the airport.
When contacted for a comment, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Works and Transport, Susan Kataike said it is not yet safe for the airport to be opened now.
“Remember the president said until we are satisfied we are safe, we can’t open,”Kataike told the Nile Post.
When contacted for a comment, Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson, Vianney Luggya said they have met with various stakeholders to find ways forward.
“We have held several stakeholder engagement meetings with health officials, airlines, ground handlers and other industry players aimed at devising the best strategies to have in place to facilitate safe operations, as and when flights resume,”Luggya told the Nile Post.
“This is still on-going and we are considering guidance from international bodies, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICA0), Airports Council International and the World Health Organisation, among others.”