If it weren’t for the house girls and security guards streaming to their hazardous destinations in the middle east, many of the elitist staff in the aviation industry would by now have been laid off.
For it is the lowly house girls derogatorily called mukomba box (those who eat leftovers) and desperate askaris who are now driving outbound passenger traffic at Entebbe.
Following the Covid-19 inspired lockdown that saw the airport closed to commercial passenger flights in March 2020, normal operations at the country’s only International Airport resumed on 1st October, 2020.
The Airport which had handled nearly two million passengers (1,980,000) international passengers in 2019 only managed 565,541 passengers in 2020.
Statistics show that a total of 49,600 passengers were handled in October 2020, rising to 51,000 passengers in November, 58,900 in December and then dipping to 57,783 in January 2021 due to apprehension over elections. before climbing again to 60,000 in February, of which 26,904 were arrivals, 31,084 departures and 3,448 in transit.
Official sources say the biggest driver of departures are house girls and security guards heading to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar mostly using FlyDubai, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines. CAA used to bag 20 billion shillings a month before the Covid-19 lockdown, but now it is just making one billion a month.
Besides keeping the aviation industry afloat, the askaris and mukomba box proceed to support the national economy by remitting their meagre earnings in foreign exchange, now that the country’s physical exports are suffering due to increasing protectionism worldwide, and rejection over quality, which has even affected Uganda’s food exports to Kenya.
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