The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) has opened part of the newly constructed Entebbe Airport terminal to passengers.
Over the weekend, the acting UCAA Director-General, Fred Bamwesigye carried out a media tour of the new passenger facilities that he said will be partly opened to allow departing passengers some space to observe standard Operating procedures to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.
“Part of the first floor of the new terminal building has been opened to facilitate departing passengers with adequate queuing space at the check-in counters while observing the necessary SOPs,” Bamwesigye said.
“We have had to open because really what we are looking for is adequate space for our passengers for Covid-19 guidelines observance; such as social distancing since the number of passengers keeps on increasing.”
The acting Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Director-General explained that in order to maintain the strict observance of COVID-19 standard operating procedures, they have reconfigured the passenger boarding lounges from closed to open lounges by removing partitions to provide more space and sitting area in the terminal.
He noted that glass barriers have also been erected at check-in counters, immigration booths and facilitation desks to reduce direct contact between the airport staff and the passengers in a bid to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.
“In the arrival hall, the e-boarder control points have been put in use as self-service kiosks for returning Ugandans with the new East African passports to minimise handling and touching of the passport by other parties,” Bamwesigye noted.
Passenger numbers increased
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, since the reopening of Entebbe Airport after easing of the COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, the number of passengers has gradually been increasing.
Bamwesigye explained that in the first month after resumption of commercial flight passenger operations, Entebbe Airport recorded 42,633 international passengers, 23,867 of whom were arriving, 15,461 departing and 3305 transiting, which was an average of 1375 passengers per day.
“In the first 25 days of November 2020, the daily average has increased to 1,676 with about 41,885 international passengers (21,401 arriving, 17,779 departing, and 2,705 in transit) handled from November 1 to November 25, 2020. On the side of cargo, Entebbe Airport handled an impressive 5,542 metric tons of cargo (2,241 imports and 3,301 exports) in October 2020. The numbers are increasing steadily,”Bamwesigye said.
He revealed that government has amended the validity of the number of hours from 72 to 120 as the time for sample collection before boarding an aircraft.
Commenting on the overall upgrade and expansion works at Entebbe Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority boss said 95% of the works on the new cargo centre’s aircraft parking apron have been accomplished, 93% works for the cargo terminal building complete and 90% works for the landside and airside access roads have so far been accomplished.
“The overall progress for the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport is at 72% level of completion,” Bamwesigye said.