By Our Aviation Reporter
As Uganda recovers from a battering –two year Covid-19 pandemic ,Entebbe International Airport recorded 100,455 international passengers in October 2021 (45,799 arrivals and 54,656 departures), an average of 3,240 passengers per day.
This is the biggest number of passengers recorded at the airport in a month since resumption of commercial passenger operations in October 2020 after a prolonged lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly corona virus that has left millions dead across the world .
Impressive figures obtained from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) indicate that the airport recorded 79,192 passengers in September (36,971 arrivals and 42,221 departures), 71,360 passengers in August (33,941 arrivals and 37,419 departures), 52,731 in July (23,594 arrivals and 29.137 departures), 69,346 in June (29,209 arrivals and 40,137 departures), 71,307 in May (35,012 arrivals and 36,295 departures), 80,785 in April (35163 arrivals and 45,622 departures), 71,904 in March, 57,988 in February and 53,504 in January 2021. These figures exclude transit passengers.
Civil Aviation Authority sources attributed the surge in traffic in October to a number of factors, including among others – enhanced vaccination across the globe, commencement of flights in and out of Entebbe by new operators such as Airlink to South Africa and Air Arabia to Sharjah.
The national carrier Uganda Airlines also commenced direct flights to Dubai and the removal of Uganda from the UK red list in early October and easing of travel restrictions on Ugandans to Dubai saw many travelers getting back to the skies .
In spite of the increased passenger traffic, the average of 3,240 passengers per day in October 2021 is still far below the average of about 5,000 passengers per day in 2019 before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the side of cargo, the airport recorded 5,371 metric tonnes of cargo in October 2021 (2,243 imports and 3,128 exports) as the economy bounces back from the devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic.