Entebbe International Airport experienced a major boost in international passenger traffic during July 2023. The total count reached 185,253 passengers, averaging around 5,975 passengers per day. This surge marked the highest volume recorded in a single month since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Out of the total, 93,727 were incoming travelers, while 91,526 were departures. These figures indicate a return to regular travel patterns as people resume their usual journeys.
Vianney Luggya, the Public Affairs Manager of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), noted that this impressive improvement showcases the industry’s ongoing recovery from the effects of Covid-19.
July 2023’s numbers showcased a jump of 24,338 passengers compared to June 2023, which had a total of 160,915 passengers. Moreover, these figures surpassed the passenger counts for the same period in both July 2022 (151,653) and July 2019 (166,980).
In terms of cargo, Entebbe Airport managed 5,745 metric tonnes of cargo in July 2023, comprising 4,198 metric tonnes for arrivals and 1,547 metric tonnes for departures. These cargo statistics also demonstrated growth compared to July 2022 and July 2019.
The aviation industry in Uganda faced a severe setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing a notable decline in passenger numbers. During the peak of the pandemic, passenger traffic at Entebbe Airport nearly plummeted to zero due to border closures, except for cargo and UN flights.
Uganda Airlines was compelled to ground its aircraft fleet as a result.
The recent surge in passenger traffic at Entebbe Airport indicates a positive upturn for the nation’s aviation sector, which struggled significantly under the pandemic’s weight. This revival is remarkable, given the global lockdowns imposed by governments worldwide to contain the virus’s spread.
According to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), only 54 million passengers traveled within Africa by air in 2020 during the pandemic, a stark contrast to double that number in the preceding year. African airlines collectively experienced a staggering $8 billion reduction in turnover.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts that Africa’s aviation industry will make a full recovery from the pandemic’s impacts by 2024.
By July 2024, Entebbe International Airport plans to expand its terminal capacity from 2 million passengers annually to a minimum of 3.5 million passengers.
Uganda is set to undergo the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA) by ICAO in September 2023, followed by the Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) in 2024. These audits evaluate a state’s compliance with ICAO’s safety-related standards and procedures.
Uganda has previously achieved commendable results in these audits, outperforming global averages.
Although Uganda Airlines secured slots at London Heathrow Airport for takeoffs and landings, operations to the United Kingdom have not commenced due to delays in resolving issues raised during the previous ICAO audit.
Reports indicate that the outdated certification status of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has contributed to the delay in updating its ICAO certification.