Parliament’s Physical Infrastructure Committee Impressed By UCAA’s Work To Upgrade and Expand Entebbe International Airport

Entebbe International Airport to handle 3.5 million passengers per year up from the current 2 million .

Parliament’s Physical Infrastructure Committee led by the Vice Chairman, Tony Awany inspected on-going works at Entebbe International Airport and were impressed by the work being done. They were taken on a guided tour by the Authority’s Management team led by the Director General, Mr. Fred K. Bamwesigye.

While briefing the committee members , DG Bamwesigye said that Uganda recently underwent a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA), an on-site audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from September 6 -18, 2023.

He explained that the international audit was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of Uganda’s safety oversight systems in compliance with the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). 

“On September 18, 2023, ICAO’s Lead Auditor issued the preliminary results for Uganda with a score of 72.17%. 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%,” Bamwesigye stated adding that 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. 

The 72.17% score was reached at after an assessment of Uganda’s effective implementation of the eight critical elements (CEs) of the State Safety Oversight System as well as the status of compliance with the ICAO SARPS in the eight audit areas, which included Primary Legislation, Organisation, Personnel Licensing, Flight Operations, Airworthiness, Aircraft Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Services, and Aerodrome and Ground Aids. Important to note is that Uganda did not register a Significant Safety concern.

The UCAA boss told the MPs that apart from the major project to upgrade and expand Entebbe International Airport, there has also been automation and modernization of the airport under a USD 9.5 million project implemented in conjunction with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and commissioned in September 2022.

The project includes an Airport Operations Data Base (AODB),Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) terminal Operations Control Center (TOCC) and ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) centered at EIA and distributed to Arua, Gulu, Soroti, Kasese, Kisoro and Mbarara.

Other new development are Flight Information Display Screens (FIDs), CCTV, and various system support components;improvement of ATM procedures, including optimization of arrival approach and departure and en-route procedures.

Bamwesigye further stated that 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. An arrivals component of the project is also being worked on to create more room and ambience for departing passengers.

“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.” He revealed .

Passenger traffic through Entebbe International Airport has been growing steadily as the airport recovers from the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the aviation industry. In September 2023, Entebbe recorded 80,701 arriving passengers and 90,605 departing passengers, 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.

In September 2023, the airport handled 1,617 imports and 3,313 exports, a total of 4,930 metric tons in one month.

UCAA is currently undertaking a review of the Entebbe International Airport Master Plan, and I am sure that the process will benefit from your expertise.

UCAA is scheduled to undergo the ICAO Universal Security Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Programme (USAP – CMA) scheduled in January 2024. 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). 

Uganda is also scheduled to host the NAM and G77 + China summit in January 2024 and EIA is fully expected to play a leading role.

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