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.
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
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
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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.
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.