Latest About Opening of Entebbe Airport
Uganda has almost lifted the lock-down on all its sectors except education, tourism and the entertainment industry. Entebbe airport and borders are still locked up to now.
This has greatly affected Uganda’s tourism. Some countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania opened their airspace. Right now these countries are trying to re-boast their tourism which is not the case for Uganda.
As for now only cargo and special flights are welcomed at the airport until October 1st 2020.
Following the release of the phase one flight schedule for Entebbe International Airport by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. We are here to double confirm that this facility will resume its operations at the start of October (10/1/2020).
It has been closed to international passenger flights from March when a first positive case for COVID-19 was declared in Uganda.
Entebbe: Uganda to Open its Airport
After the closure of Ebb airport in March, Uganda is due to open it after curbing the widespread of COVID-19 pandemic. This deadly virus distributed to different parts of the World, including Uganda after being declared in China’s Wuhan city.
Traveling from one country to another is the main reason why this fatal disease reached almost every continent. Its spread from one person to another and gestation period of 2-14 days turned it to be more dangerous.
The Pandemic affected everything, but after months most countries are preventing its widespread including Uganda. Closing borders and airports is one of the moves that curbed this pandemic.
After a slight decrease in the spread, Uganda is planning to open Entebbe international Airport and its borders. This will allow in travelers from different parts of the World.
Once you get at the Airport, you can easily get from there by Uganda Airport Taxi Services. This agency offer remarkable services that are meant to satisfy the client’s needs.
From the Airport you can stay in Entebbe town or drive straight for an overnight in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. It is recommended to book for the Airport taxi in advance such that your pick up is catered for in time.
Conditions set by Government for Opening of the Airport
As most Ugandans and travelers from different countries of the World wait for reopening of Entebbe Airport, the government has set strict aviation guidelines for airlines and travelers.
It was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health “Dr Diana Atwine” who said that “ the measures were designed to allow airlines return to the skies, limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and as well keep travelers safer”.
Dr Diana Atwine added on that the government is keen to address the risks and ensure that the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority puts in place the measures to guide the travelers.
Another statement from the Permanent Secretary “A plan is in place to reopen Entebbe International Airport but we are still waiting for scientists to give us a report on the standard operating procedures presented to them by UCAA before a decision to reopen the facility is made”.
Sources indicate that some of the measures will require travelers to go through a protracted slow check-in process, do the hand washing, wear face masks and as well arrive at the airport early for multiple checkups.
Expect to be blocked from accessing the airport if you have any symptom of the novel corona-virus.
This move of opening Entebbe Airport is planned after Rwanda and Kenya, the other two countries in the East African community reopened their airports to international flights. There are all progressing and emphasize all travelers to adhere to the health guidelines.
Uganda’s airport was closed to all commercial flights on March 22 after one case of a Ugandan national from Dubai was confirmed. After closure, only cargo and UN planes were allowed in and out. Right now, only passenger planes allowed in are those for Ugandans stranded abroad.
It started as a 32-day ban, but the situation worsened as cases increased in Uganda and other parts of the World. This is the main reason why the airport is still closed but it is expected to be open either in September or October 2020.
The head of the ministerial scientific advisory committee told us that the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority must ensure that all travelers follow the guidelines once Entebbe international Airport is reopened. He adds on that the air conditioning systems that operate where the air is picked from one source to other parts of the airport are risky and must be changed.
“The issue of reopening the Entebbe landing space is not purely scientific. We engage sectors to come up with SOPs and then assess them before there are implemented. Therefore, we are waiting for UCAA to report to us and then we assess their preparations before reopening,” Dr Wayengera said.
The UCAA spokesperson “Mr Vianney Luggya”, said the authority came up with a list of SOPs and sent a copy to Dr Henery Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services, for approval.
He also said their development was based on the Covid-19 guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Airports Council International (ACI), among other bodies.
These include installation of automated sanitizer at strategic points, marks at the airport to ensure social distancing, acquire temperature guns at entry points, and install three ultra-modern scans that detect the temperature at a 30-metre distance.
The other requirement is the erection of executive tents at the airside. These tents will be used for screening, isolation and testing for the Virus. When flights are back at the airport, passengers will be required to arrive four hours earlier for several checks.
Glass shields are developed between those who will be interfacing with the passengers and this is meant to reduce direct contact. Taps in the airport washrooms are changed from touch to non-touchable.
Mr Luggya said that you cannot see the other country reopening and you also rush to the decision before considering key measures. The decision to reopen the airport depends on many factors and will be reached after consultations with all stakeholders.
The idea of opening the airport was welcomed by many people including Mr Godfrey Katongole, the chairperson of Kampala Arcades Traders Association. He said that most traders sell goods from China since the airport is closed no one can travel and this limits on the stock of goods available for sale.
Summary of the drafted SOPs
- Social distancing
- Regular hand washing
- Use of protective gear by staff
- Travelers to be tested before exit and upon arrival in the country
- Small luggage to be allowed to reduce congestion
- All waiting lounges to be regularly disinfected
- No handshaking and hugging
- Slow check-in
- Wear a facemask
- Disinfecting seats and rails
- Screening to ascertain temperature.