Air Uganda laments handling charges at Entebbe


UGANDA (eTN) – Information reached the media over the weekend that Air Uganda’s CEO Hugh Fraser last week lamented the fact of high handling charges at Uganda’s main international airport in Entebbe, when he was reported in the local media to have said that charges in Entebbe were almost twice compared to Nairobi.

Seemingly the airline is keen to commence “self handling” at the expense of the two licensed airport handling companies ENHAS and Das Handling or else may use this declaration to get a better deal from their present handling company.

Comparisons with Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) are also a little stretched, as JKIA handles a great multiple of traffic and has more licensed handling companies from which airlines can get quotations, while Entebbe with considerably less traffic movements presently, according to a senior Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) source, “is well catered for as far as handling is concerned.” Said the source on condition of anonymity: “When we have more traffic, we can consider inviting bids for a third handling company, but right now we have two, and there is capacity between them for doing more work.”

The source then went on to suggest, “Have they compared the rates from the two companies? We know that one is, according to our sources, quite a bit cheaper and also look[s] after big clients like Kenya Airways. In any case, our apron in front of the main arrival building is already congested, and if more equipment is brought in, we may have a problem there where to store it, park vehicles, etc. when not in use. Until the present cargo area next to the passenger terminal is eventually moved to the projected new cargo terminal, we have constraints, and this has been explained, yet some people have other ideas and ignored these factors.”

The Air Uganda CEO apparently also claimed to have obtained a presidential directive to be allowed self handling, but as the various processes at the CAA are subject to current regulations and rules, this may require, if found correct after all, a technical evaluation report first before any decision can be made based on facts rather than on the interests of one company.