They were expecting to make at least 500 sales a day in the last two weeks of the year. However, they say they are making less than 200 sales daily. Even Christmas and Boxing Day sales were not more than 250.
In a circular to staff, Emmanuel Barungi, the General Manager Entebbe Airport says that "it has been noted with concern that the use of personal phones and other devices by Airport staff while on duty has continued unabated despite consequent security and safety concerns."
Each passenger is allowed to carry a piece of hand luggage weighing a maximum of 7 kilograms and two pieces of check-in baggage weighing a total of 23 kilograms. However one is also allowed to have two extra pieces of baggage at a total cost of 125 US Dollars. Those with only one extra piece of baggage are paying 50 US Dollars.
But more than 50 passengers who travelled with flight number UR-711 landed at Entebbe International Airport on Friday at 3:56 p.m. told our reporter that they had either got some or none of their bags after waiting at the carousel for over two hours. They were told by baggage handlers that some of the bags were left at O. R Tambo Airport in South Africa.
Passengers interviewed want only travelers arriving from Omicron-risk countries to wait for their results at Entebbe airport, because of the increase in the number of arriving travelers ahead of the festive season.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, told our reporter that the "swab and go" move was based on a scientific assessment of the tests done in the last five days of mandatory testing at the airport. Aceng says only 34 of the 700 passengers tested in that period were positive for COVID-19.
At the moment all passengers are subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test and held in a waiting area at the airport for not less than two hours after their arrival while waiting for their results. Those who test negative are allowed to continue to their destinations, while those who test positive are sent to medical facilities.
According to the Ministry of Health, deportees are exempted from the payments. But on Wednesday, 43 deportees were asked to pay for the tests or risk sleeping at the airport. The deportees landed around 1 pm aboard Ethiopian Airlines and were held in the waiting area.
Joel Ssenyonyi, who is COSASE chairperson and Nakawa West MP, and the other committee members including Mpindi, Alex Ruhunda of Fort Portal Central Division questioned UCAA officials about the absence of rumps at the existing passenger terminal buildings and also the modified building that will be an extension for the current departures and arrivals sections.
The 259- capacity Airbus A380-800 Neo aircraft left Entebbe International Airport after 12:18 pm on Monday, with 76 passengers in its economy class and five other flying business class. The maiden flight to Dubai was initially scheduled to take place at an earlier date but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move is one of the strategies Dr. Atwine told our reporter that the ministry plans to implement as a result of identifying loopholes in the current exercise of testing only unvaccinated passengers from ten countries namely India, South Sudan, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.
Airport taxi operators led by Jackson Sserubidde, the chairperson of Airport Taxi Services Cooperative Society Ltdsay that the testing centre has affected the number of passengers they carry daily because eligible travellers spend about four hours at the centre.
Six health workers have been deployed at the arrivals section of the airport while others are manning the testing centre that has been set up at gardens of Peniel Beach Hotel. The gardens are less than one kilometre from the airport.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson at the health ministry, says that since May 10, 2,200 travelers have been tested at the new centre. Of these, 18 have tested positive and are being handled at various hospitals including Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, which is less than 2 kilometres from the airport.
Eng. Henry Ngobi, the chief engineer at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA told the committee member during their oversight visit that at least 79 per cent of the project is complete. He said the project executed by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) is expected to be completed on May 05th, 2021.