There was fury at Entebbe Airport on Tuesday afternoon after over 100 passengers missed their flight to United Arab Emirates after the results of their rapid Covid-19 tests arrived late.
The incident happened when a number of passengers who were supposed to fly using Emirates flight number EK730 missed the flight after results came in only 15 minutes to the time of closing the boarding gate.
Usually, the boarding gate is closed between 15 and 30 minutes before departure.
On Tuesday, by the time the Safari lab sent in the Covid-19 test results, it was late for every passenger to have finalized with verification of the results and consequently many missed their flight.
“Emirates passengers have missed their flight because Safari lab sent Covid-19 test results at 2:45pm yet Emirates closed its gate(boarding) at 3pm and they could not work on everyone in time,” one of the passengers tweeted on Tuesday evening.
Another tweep confirmed the development, saying he was among the few who were able to have his results verified to fly to UAE after the delay by the lab.
“I was on that Emirates flight but those guys brought the results late. I did the test at 10am but results came at 2pm yet it is a rapid test. Thank God I made it but I feel sad for those that didn’t,” a one Keith Magoola said.
Many of those who commented on the incident wondered why they could not get value for their money, having paid Shs 250,000 for the rapid Covid tests.
CAA confirms incident
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the incident.
“About 100 passengers who were scheduled to travel to UAE aboard Emirates flight number EK730 at 18:45hours on Tuesday missed their flight due to late arrival at Entebbe International Airport following a delay in getting their Covid PCR test results,” CAA said in a statement .
CAA explained that passengers from Uganda to UAE are required by the destination country(UAE) to have an additional PCR test certificate issued within six hours prior to departure.
The body responsible for matters regarding air transport noted that Emirates usually advises passengers to undertake the PCR tests between 1030 and 1300 so as to be in time for the flight.
However, the air transport regulator said the airline and the laboratory are engaging with affected passengers to have them travel on the next flight.
“While the Civil Aviation Authority was not directly involved in the process, the authority is engaging the various stakeholders to ensure that corrective measures are put in place to avoid recurrence of the mishap,” the aviation body said.