Members of the Public Relations Association of Uganda(PRAU) have visited Entebbe International Airport in a bid to benchmark best practices and how the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has handled the various crises.
Led by their president Tina Wamala, the public relations practitioners interacted with UCAA’s public affairs department on how it managed the recent crisis on social media by members of the public regarding service delivery at the country’s only international airport.
Speaking to the PRAU members, UCAA Public Affairs manager, Vianney Luggya told the group that communicating is key in managing any crisis.
“Taking action, communicating consistently and in a timely manner, engaging stakeholders, and a post crisis analysis of what was done well and what went wrong for better management in future are key in managing in crisis,” Luggya said.
Earlier this year, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority was embroiled in a crisis that threatened the jobs of several officials after members of the public took to social media to accuse some of them of extortion.
Many travelers said they had been asked as much as $1000 to be allowed onto flights whose tickets they already had.
Speaking to PRAU members, the UCAA spokesperson said this crisis was handled in a professional manner that saw them overcome it.
“One of the key issues that helped us deal with it was acknowledging the feedback, which created empathy. Honestly communicating the measures put in place, flexibility in changing tactics and getting the necessary support from key stakeholders at all levels was also important in managing this crisis.”
PRAU president, Tina Wamala described the visit to Entebbe Airport as being fruitful to members.
“Our visit has helped members to compare communication approaches because as an umbrella body that brings together spokespersons from different organizations, learning through capacity building and sharing of experiences with one another is a big part of what we do to improve our various sectors,” Wamala said.
The UCAA Manager in charge of procurement, Godfrey Lutimba Matovu hailed PRAU for visiting and bench-marking with Entebbe International Airport.
“We are always delighted to receive delegations from such professional bodies because it gives us an opportunity to share with them what we are doing and get valuable feedback for continuous improvement for the benefit of Ugandans and all the users of Entebbe International Airport,”Lutimba said.
“I commend PRAU for the various efforts the association is engaging in towards ensuring that the public relations practice is duly recognised as a profession through a bill that is currently getting stakeholder input. That is a step in the right direction that will protect the professionals, weed out the quacks, and ensure that you are held in higher esteem.”