International commercial passenger flights return to Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport on October 1, 2020, ending at least five months of lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) in a September 8 letter to airlines’ executives said that 13 flights, to and from the airport have been cleared for the first day, while 10 flights are confirmed for the second day. The letter is signed by Sooma Ayub, the UCAA director for Airports and Aviation security.
Airlines expected to resume flights in Uganda include the national carrier Uganda Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, Air Tanzania, Ethiopian Airlines, FlyDubai, RwandAir, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, and Tarco Aviation.
The UCAA says the reopening will see the number of flights handled at the airport increasing gradually. The regulator also gave details of a revised weekly flight schedule for the first phase of the reopening which runs for three months.
The UCAA had asked for $40 million to prepare the airport for reopening.
Entebbe International Airport was closed to passenger traffic since March except for evacuation and repatriation flights and cargo. The closure hit hard sectors like tourism which rely on aviation.
Uganda Airlines had just been revived as the country’s national carrier when COVID 19 struck.
Commercial services had resumed with a flight from Entebbe to Nairobi in neighboring Kenya that the airline hoped will usher in a profitable new era for the formerly debt-ridden brand.
Uganda Airlines said its fleet of twin-engined Bombardier CRJ-900 regional jet airliners will soon connect to destinations including Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Mogadishu in Somalia and Juba in South Sudan.
The revival of the brand, originally founded by dictator Idi Amin in 1977 but grounded in 2001 amid financial difficulties, is aimed at capitalizing on opportunities in agriculture, minerals, tourism and oil and gas sectors.
Recent years have seen growing international interest in Uganda as a vacation destination with travelers drawn by beautiful national parks, beach resorts and wildlife such as rare mountain gorillas.
Increased passenger traffic at the country’s Entebbe International Airport will contribute to the country’s national economy, Vianney Luggya of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority said.
UJA House, Bombo Rd,
Keti Falawo Zone, Kawempe Division
Kampala – Uganda