Uganda Civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) has assured the public that the passenger experience at Entebbe International Airport is currently smooth and excellent.
The authority made the remarks while appearing on SpotlightUG panel discussion on the state of the aviation industry in Uganda. The discussion took place on NBS Television on Monday night.
During the discussion, the Director General at UCAA, Fred Bamwesigye said the passenger experience is currently smooth and excellent.
“A number of multiple desks that previously existed on departure have since been removed, and operations were harmonised so that fewer staff interact with passengers through the departure process,” he said.
Officials explained that it was not only civil aviation handling Entebbe Airport.
Bamwesigye noted that because there were very many departments handling passengers, it turned out to be an inconvenience.
“We had to streamline and make sure we left only desks that were meant to be at an airport,” he assured the passengers.
The departments that were handling passengers at the airport other than the authority included the immigration desk and security.
Other departments that were handling passengers at the airport during Covid-19, according to the officials, were health desk, labour desk, vaccination among others.
The increase in desks caused issues at the airport. The officials said that it forced them to come out to streamline the whole place and close those desks that were causing problems.
Bamwesigye noted that it is always good to come and explain to Ugandans what happens in aviation.
“We need to come up and use our aviation facilities more than we have done before because it will help us ease our transport system. I want to encourage us to use Uganda Airlines because once it expands, it also expands the home airport at Entebbe,” he said.
The checkpoints that have remained include, the one manned by the police, those manned by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and aviation police. Other checkpoints are: the baggage checkpoint, the airlines check-in counters and the immigration counter.
This year, UCAA threw out the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Abbey Walusimbi, out of Entebbe International Airport.
Similarly, a plethora of desks that had been created, including one to validate and another to verify the vaccination statuses of travelers going through the airport, have been closed.
In January this year, multiple videos of Ugandans complaining about cases of harassment-including hooking people off planes, removing travel documents and extortion of travelers who use the airport went viral on social media platforms.
The external labour desk of the Labour ministry was caught in the eye of the storm, with most travelers accusing its staff of being masterminds behind the illegal acts.
It was alleged that some of the illegal acts resulted in some people missing out on their flights.
The viral videos triggered a public uproar that compelled the authorities to launch an investigation into the matter that resulted in the streamlining of the airport.