The Uganda civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) has said by July next year, Entebbe International Airport will be able to handle 3.4 million passengers per year.
Speaking during a visit by the parliamentary committee on physical infrastructure, the UCAA Director General, Fred Bamwesigye said the airport is undergoing an upgrade that will see its capacity to handle both passengers and cargo increase.
“On completion of all the above infrastructural upgrade projects, terminal building capacity will be enhanced from the current capacity of 2 million passengers a year to at least 3.5 million passengers by July 2024,” Bamwesigye said.
He said there has been automation and modernization of Entebbe International Airport which cost $9.5 implemented in conjunction with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and commissioned in September last year leading to an Airport Operations Data Base (AODB), computerized maintenance management system and terminals operations control centre, air traffic service message handling system distributed to Arua, Gulu, Soroti, Kasese, Kisoro and Mbarara.
The UCAA Director General also highlighted the flight information display screens, CCTV and various support components as well as the improvement in the ATM procedures including the optimization of arrival approach and departure and en-route procedures as some of the major modifications at the airport.
“As part of the re-modification of the current passenger terminal building, expansion of the departures area was completed and part of it is already in use, awaiting opening of the major entrance to the building so that departing passengers are dropped-off by the entrance to the terminal building later this year. An arrivals component of the project is also being worked on to create more room and ambience for departing passengers,” Bamwesigye said.
Passenger traffic grows
The UCAA Director General told MPs that passenger traffic has continued to grow steadily since the end of the Covid pandemic.
He said in September 2023, Entebbe recorded 80,701 arriving passengers and 90,605 departing passengers to make it a total of 171,306 passengers, which is an average of 5,710 per day.
“The total number of passengers facilitated from January to September 2023 is 1,390,495 compared to 1,170,744 in 2019. In 2022, the total number of passengers was 1,574,405 compared to 1.8 million international passengers in 2019, before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This represents an 87% level of recovery,”he said.
He said last month, the airport handled 1,617 imports and 3,313 exports, a total of 4,930 metric tons in one month.
According to Bamwesigye, UCAA is set to undergo the ICAO Universal Security Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Programme (USAP – CMA) scheduled for January 2024.
He said the objective of the USAP-CMA is to evaluate the effectiveness of Uganda’s security systems in compliance with the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
A Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA), conducted by ICAO last month to evaluate the effectiveness of Uganda’s safety oversight systems in compliance with standards and recommended practices indicated Uganda scored 72.17%.
According to UCAA, the results indicated an overall improvement in the safety performance of the state of Uganda, ranking the state above the regional/Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF) region average of 55.66% and global average of 67.68%.
“The audit score is a vote of confidence in Uganda’s aviation safety system, which shows the entire international aviation community that the country complies with ICAO standards,” Bamwesigye told MPs.