Entebbe Airport’s Safety Standards Praised in International Audit

Entebbe Airport's Safety Standards Praised in International Audit
Entebbe Airport's Safety Standards Praised in International Audit
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Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) received a safety oversight audit from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), resulting in a score of 72.17 percent. The audit aimed to assess Uganda’s adherence to ICAO standards and practices in its safety oversight systems.

During the preliminary report release in Kampala, State Minister for Transport, Mr. Fred Byamukama, highlighted that Uganda’s score exceeded both the Eastern and Southern Africa regional average of 55.66 percent and the global average of 67.68 percent. Byamukama expressed confidence in Uganda’s aviation safety system, emphasizing its compliance with ICAO standards.

The audit evaluated eight critical elements of Uganda’s safety oversight system, covering legislation, organization, licensing, flight operations, airworthiness, aircraft accident investigation, air navigation services, and aerodrome and ground aids. However, the preliminary report did not provide specific performance details for each area. The final report, including detailed findings, will be released by ICAO in six months.

Byamukama noted that Uganda has never registered a significant safety concern, signifying the country’s commitment to safety standards. Failing the audit could have led to a loss of confidence and airlines avoiding Ugandan airspace.

The positive audit outcome is expected to facilitate national carriers’ integration into international airline alliances and associations, creating more opportunities for licensed operators.

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Mr. Byamukama urged UCAA and stakeholders to maintain the momentum in oversight responsibilities.

Despite the high score, the ICAO recommended areas for improvement through a corrective action plan. Notably, Uganda performed poorly in accident investigations, scoring 19 percent. UCAA Director General, Mr. Fred Bamwesigye, acknowledged these areas for improvement and emphasized the need to follow ICAO guidelines to enhance accident investigation procedures.

ICAO conducts safety audits every six years, with Uganda’s last audit in 2014 resulting in a score of 62 percent.

According to UCAA, Entebbe airport has seen an increase in international passengers and cargo handling compared to previous years, showcasing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Between January and August 2023, the airport handled more international passengers and metric tonnes of exports compared to the same period in previous years, indicating a positive trend in the aviation sector’s recovery. The recovery rate for imports at the airport stands at 77.5 percent.

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