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Entebbe Airport: Passenger Numbers Dropped In Last Two Months

The passenger numbers began dropping in May from 77,063 travellers to 75,472 passengers in June. The airport recorded the lowest number of travellers in July, with 61,328 passengers. Luggya explains that the growth trend in the last three months was partly impacted by the necessary COVID-19 precautionary measures.
CAA Graphic on passenger and cargo stats for April to June 2021

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Travels at Entebbe International Airport dropped by 14,000 passengers between June and July mainly due to the nationwide lockdown and global travel restrictions. Although president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced a total lockdown in June that ran for 42 days, he left Entebbe International Airport open. 

Despite this, Vianney Luggya, the Spokesperson of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA says that global travel restrictions particularly the suspension of flights to the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom saw passenger numbers drop by over 14,000 travellers between June and July.

He said that the daily average of passengers also reduced to 1,978 compared to 5,412 passengers before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Uganda.

 

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Luggya noted that many aviation and tourism sector players were optimistic that the passenger numbers would grow r based on the figures for the first four months of 2021

Entebbe airport recorded an increase of 57,988 passengers in February from 53,494 in January. This showed an average increase of 2,194 per day in February up from 1,868 in January 2021. 

At the time, February recorded the highest daily passenger number since the resumption of commercial passenger flights. Entebbe Airport resumed passenger flights in October 2020. The numbers grew from 76,233 passengers in March 2021 to 85,054 passengers in April 2021. 

The April figures excited the sector players since they surpassed those for February. However, the excitement dropped in May when the country detected the Delta variant and instituted extra measures such as banning flights from India and re-testing travellers from nine other countries including Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and South Sudan.   

The passenger numbers began dropping in May from 77,063 travellers to 75,472 passengers in June. The airport recorded the lowest number of travellers in July, with 61,328 passengers. Luggya explains that the growth trend in the last three months was partly impacted by the necessary COVID19 precautionary measures.

These measures included the suspension of flights to Uganda by airlines such as Rwanda Air due to the surging number of COVID-19 cases.  Uganda Airlines cut the number of flights from three to once a day for the Nairobi route during the lockdown.

Luggya however says there is hope that the passenger numbers will increase steadily, as some countries like UAE ease restrictions.  

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Figures from UCAA show that Entebbe International Airport handled 118,000 passengers in 1991. In May, Fred K. Bamwesigye, the UCAA Acting Director-General noted that by end of 2019, this figure rose to 2 million passengers. “By 2023, we want to reach 3.5 million passengers per year," he added.

He explained that they expect to work with Uganda Tourism Board and individuals such as Olympic gold medalist, Joshua Cheptegei to boost the passenger numbers. Meanwhile, some airport taxi operators say they made more money in the last two months despite the low passenger numbers.

Jackson Sserubidde, the chairperson of Airport Taxi Services Ltd, says that unlike the first lockdown where the airport was closed, they continued working during the second lockdown.

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He, however, says the airport taxi operators had to work in shifts because of the reduction in passenger numbers.

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Emmanuel Mugisha agrees with Sserubidde, saying drivers were able to earn some money during the recent lockdown.

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Joseph Kisembo, who has driven for the last 5 years says he made at least Shillings two million during the second lockdown compared to the one million Shillings he made in March and April.  

Luganda

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