Entebbe International Airport Receives COVID-19 Safety Equipment

IOM donation ahead of October 1 reopening

Entebbe International Airport Receives COVID-19 Safety Equipment

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) received a donation of COVID-19 UG safety equipment on September 8, 2020 ahead of the phased reopening of Entebbe International Airport on October 1, 2020. The airport has been closed since March 21 following national lockdown measures imposed by the government of Uganda in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The equipment is worth 1 Billion UGX (US$271,000) and includes a Thermo scanner, one automated walk-through Disinfection Booth, and 4 stand-alone air conditioners including installation with drainage system, along with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“The equipment we have received from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Uganda [of The UN Migration Agency] will complement the COVID-19 measures already in place to ensure a comfortable passenger experience through Entebbe International Airport,” said Hon. Joy Kabatsi, Minister of State for Transport.

According to the AG Director-General UCAA, Mr. Fred Bamwesigye, during this lockdown, UCAA held several stakeholder engagements aimed at ensuring the readiness of the airport facilities of which one was with the IOM that was initiated by the Ministry of Works and Transport.

It aimed at helping in meeting the required Standard Operating Procedures issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to guard against the spread of COVID-19 through air travels,” he said while receiving the equipment at UCAA head offices in Entebbe.

Mr. Bamwesigye noted that the equipment will go a long way in ensuring the safety of passengers and front-line airport staff.

“It’s important to note that a number of interventions are being undertaken by the government of Uganda and are being implemented by UCAA to provide a conducive environment for the users of Entebbe International Airport,” he said.

Mr. Bamwesigye added that a number of other interventions to address the challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel have been put in place such as the installation of automated sanitizers at various points within the terminal building, social distancing marks on the ground and passengers waiting seats within the lounges, among others.

The Hon. Minister Kabatsi added that “the government of Uganda is working hand in hand with many stakeholders in the aviation, tourism, and trade sectors to draw strategies aimed at putting in place mitigation measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 through air travel when passenger operations resume.

“The mitigation measures have so far been tested with evacuation flights for foreigners and repatriation flights for returning Ugandans and has so far proved to be effective. Therefore, the equipment received from IOM should be able to greatly complement the measures in place to ensure a comfortable passenger experience through Entebbe International Airport,” she said.

Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator and Designated Official for Security, said: “COVID-19 puts all of humanity at risk and requires an urgent and coordinated multi-stakeholder response focused on the intensification of surveillance, detection, and containment measures, as well as case management and community engagement. In Uganda, the Ministry of Health supported by WHO has worked closely to ensure that preventive measures are rolled out and case management is improved.

“It’s important to recognize that the major challenge for airports and other points of entry is to ensure that passengers remain comfortable and safe while managing the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, IOM will provide new equipment required by the UCAA to meet new airport safety and security standards so that the new terminal can be used.”

Meanwhile, the UCAA has released a schedule for Phase 1 of International passenger flights for Entebbe International Airport covering 3 months.

The schedule was contained in a letter notifying the airlines with operations in Uganda including Kenya Airways, RwandAir, Qatar Air, Air Tanzania, Fly Dubai, Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Dutch Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Tarco Aviation, and Uganda Airlines.