The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has disclosed its comprehensive plan to handle the influx of over 30 heads of state, 12 vice-presidents and prime ministers, and 100 delegates for the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G-77+China summit at Entebbe International Airport, commencing on Saturday, January 13, 2024.
Eng. Ayub Sooma, the director of airport and aviation security at UCAA, outlined the program, emphasizing the diverse categories of guests, including heads of state arriving on chartered planes and others opting for commercial flights. Chartered planes are expected to land at the VIP wing, where government protocol will either organize a reception ceremony or transport the dignitaries directly to their destinations.
For those arriving on commercial flights, they will be received at the aircraft tarmac, with specially trained personnel coordinating their transfer to the VIP wing, where government protocol will take charge. Ordinary delegates will follow standard channels, supervised by trained personnel, who will allocate transportation to either the summit venue or their respective hotels.
Upon departure, the delegates will undergo a similar process, with heads of state utilizing the VIP lounge. Sooma advised ordinary passengers to arrive at least three hours before their boarding time due to increased security clearances, ensuring a smooth process amidst the high-profile summit.
Sooma expressed gratitude for the government’s financial support but appealed for additional resources to enhance airport standards, particularly for the ongoing phase two, expected to conclude by December of the current year.
Assuring top-notch service, Sooma pledged that all passengers, including those in the new terminal, would be treated like VIPs. The upper floors of the new terminal are allocated for departures, while the lower floor handles arrivals. Challenges persist with parking, but plans for a multi-storeyed car park are in the pipeline.
In case of potential overwhelm, UCAA has approached neighboring countries, such as Kisumu in Kenya, to handle additional flights. Despite these contingencies, the authority claims to be 100% ready for the summit, having conducted successful rehearsals and dry runs on December 17th, 2023, and January 10th, 2024, in collaboration with stakeholders.