Uganda Airlines given greenlight to activate flights to United Kingdom

Uganda Airlines has started the year 2023 on the high after authorities in the United Kingdom have allowed the national carrier to start flights to Heathrow but through an intermediate airport. This has been confirmed by the CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki who has told the media that has been allowed to choose from intermediate airports in six countries in Africa and Europe, whose airports have a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority security clearance. These include Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia and Turkey.

Uganda Airlines last year applied to resume flights to UK and it can take close to two years for the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority UKCAA to process and approve the application after serious security vetting of Entebbe International Airport-the base of the national airliner .

Uganda Airlines CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki, stated ” We have two options – to wait until Entebbe International Airport has gone through a security audit by the UKCAA so that we can fly direct from there, or go through a third country whose airport already has the necessary clearances.”

Uganda Airlines CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki

“We now have to confirm with them and set up arrangements in line with our cargo designation. On the ground, we had already set up at the airport and what is left is for us to set up a marketing office and reactivate the slots we were initially allocated,” she added.

What does it mean for the passenger

By going through the intermediate airport it means that all passengers and crew on the Uganda Airline flight will have to disembark and go through the passenger screening process at the intermediate airport before getting back on board.

“Kenya is a good option but, like Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia, it would involve some deviation off the regular flying track,” Ms Bamuturaki said indicating that Algeria and Egypt might be a better option.

Entebbe completed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) in 2017, scoring 81.8 percent against a global average of 72 percent. However, it has been a while since the airport was subjected to ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). The last USOAP on Entebbe was in July 2014.  

Another audit is set for October 2023 after two years of Covid -19 lockdowns.

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