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."
UCAA directive banning use of mobile phones
Uganda Civil Aviation
Organization-UCAA staff are no longer allowed to use mobile phones and other personal devices on duty at Entebbe
In a circular to the general managers of DAS, NAS/ENHAS, the principal immigration
officer, all airline station managers, site manager trend events, and site
manager A&M Cleaning Company Ltd, 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."
Close to 2,000 staff work at the airport. They
include airline station workers, cleaners, cargo and passenger handlers,
immigration, port health, aviation security, and security personnel among others. In the December 7th, 2021
circular, Barungi says that
the ban on mobile phones takes
that no staff unless permitted to do so, “shall be allowed to
carry his or her personal phones or other devices to their work stations". He warns that those
found in breach of the restriction shall be subjected to disciplinary action.
According to sources, the directive
comes months after four-passenger handlers from NAS/ENHAS were fired for taking photographs of the
children of musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine
leaving the country.
The photos were posted on various social media platforms
raising questions about the right to privacy of minors and air-bound passengers at Entebbe
Airport. The same sources say some staff have made it a
habit to make and receive calls or on chat on social media while on duty. "It is not a
good signal when you find aviation security officers on phone and yet they have
to look out for suspicious items, passengers, and visitors at the
airport," one at UCAA told our reporter.
Airport staff have security tags that indicate
where they can or cannot access, they also wear uniforms while some who access
restricted areas such as the airside, the arrivals, and departures sections
wear reflector jackets. There have been complaints of safety and security
arising from airport staff not wearing uniforms and reflector jackets
concentrating on their phones while others have been blamed for " taking
pictures of flaws and
sharing them with
like Deo Masaba have also
welcomed the directive. Masaba says that in some parts of the world, employees are
asked to leave their cell phones in their bags or locker rooms. "Using
your cell phone while
serving a customer is simply rude, unprofessional and one opens themselves up
for making mistakes especially when entering information into systems," he
He says that one will
argue that what if the staff have an
emergency at home. He explains in this
case every employer should have their Work landline number left at home so
that they can be reached if needed."
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He says that airport authorities should stop workers from
wearing sandals while on duty because they look untidy and unprepared to
respond to incidents and accidents that require protective shoes and gear.
Another passenger also welcomed the directives. "Entebbe
International Airport is the gateway into Uganda and we can not afford to be
viewed in a bad light due to some few individuals who can not conduct business
professionally,’ he said.
"staff concentrating on WhatsApp instead of concentrating on work leads to divided attention. Aviation
security staff for example are not supposed to be with phones at centers because
they are supposed to concentrate on screening."
A source says UCAA now plans to purchase
signage stopping the use of
phones at airside by both passengers and staff. Passengers will be told to use their phones for communicating and not taking photos of installations, services, or third parties.