UCAA director Fred Bamwesigye revealed plans to separate the management of Entebbe International Airport from the regulatory responsibilities of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) in an address at the UCAA Stakeholders Engagement Breakfast Meeting held at Serena Hotel in Kampala during the international aviation week. The proposal aims to enhance UCAA’s focus on regulation and improve services for clients.
The idea of divestment was brought to the forefront during a keynote address by Barry A. Kashambo, a retired aviation specialist and consultant. Kashambo, who previously served as the ICAO Eastern and Southern Africa regional director, suggested that this move aligns with an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommendation, emphasizing the benefits of enhanced oversight.
Director Bamwesigye affirmed that discussions on the separation of regulatory and airport management functions were already underway within the organization. The intention is to present a comprehensive report to the Cabinet for consideration and further action.
Transport Minister Katumba Wamala, who attended the event as the chief guest, expressed support for the proposal, emphasizing that UCAA’s focus should be on regulation while airport management could be entrusted to another entity.
During a panel discussion, Kashambo highlighted the potential conflict of interest arising from combining airport management and regulatory functions. He also criticized the insufficient investment in aviation across African states, urging a scale-up to boost the industry and catalyze broader development.
Kashambo called attention to Africa’s limited share, accounting for only 2% of the global aviation industry’s traffic. He urged Uganda to leverage tourism and aviation synergies for increased revenue, citing missed opportunities like the 1976 Entebbe attack.
Reflecting on UCAA’s recent ICAO audit performance of 72%, Kashambo stressed the need for improvement, particularly in security and accident investigation. Minister Katumba Wamala commended Kashambo’s candid critique, emphasizing its value in helping the government enhance the aviation sector.
As Entebbe International Airport undergoes expansion and modification ahead of the Non-Aligned Movement and Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments conference in January 2024, Minister Katumba assured that the works would be completed by December for a welcoming environment. UCAA Board Chairman, retired Justice Steven Kavuma, urged a collective focus and commitment to elevate Uganda’s standing in the aviation industry.