UGANDA (eTN) – Members of the parliamentary committee on natural resources were shocked, as were aviation observers, when news filtered into the public domain that Entebbe International Airport was lacking a functioning weather radar system. Considering how regular thunderstorms are in Uganda along the departure and approach paths of aircraft taking off and landing, and what monster storms often brew out over Lake Victoria, the lack of such a system was called a “sad reality in Uganda aviation” by a regular source from within the sector.
“Communications reach to a certain point out of Entebbe or Kajjansi, but from some areas of the country, Entebbe is hard to reach from the ground, and this is a violation of the regulations in fact. Something goes wrong, the pilot will be blamed, CAA can never be at fault,” the source said.
Another source said that modern jet aircraft used by airlines flying into Uganda give the cockpit crews clear images in the cockpit of bad weather ahead, but conceded that otherwise, local domestic aviation depends more on weather satellite pictures from the Internet as no radar details are available from the Meteorological Department in Entebbe.
The cost for the required 2 systems was pegged at US$8 million, apparently long applied for and always rejected as a “non-priority item” – how much is aviation safety worth one wonders? The answer is probably found in the same offices which decided that passengers must get wet during rains before reaching the terminal building to check-in.