By Spy Uganda
Kampala, Entebbe: Fred K. Bamwesigye, Acting Director General UCAA says international passenger numbers are steadily increasing ever since the resumption of commercial passenger flights on 1st October, 2020, following a seven months lockdown.
Bamwesigye says that in October, Entebbe Airport handled a total of 42,633 international passengers, of which 56 percent were arriving and the rest departing or in transit.
He adds that in the first 25 days of November, there was an increase in the daily average of passengers from 1,375 passengers in October to 1,676 so far recorded this month varrying with that of last year of over 1.9 million international passengers, with about 5,400 passengers daily.
Bamwesigye also revealed that the airport handled a total of 5,542 metric tonnes of cargo in October that includes 3,301 exports and 2,241 imports also varrying with those last year of 62,000 metric tonnes of cargo, which was about 5,166 metric tonnes per month.
When asked why the number is overwhelmingly increasing, he attributed it to improved passenger facilitation at the airport ever since the resumption of commercial passenger flights.
He added, “The number has also increased because of extra flight per day for airlines that used to operate several flights daily in the past. For instance, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines used to operate five to seven flights a day.”
Meanwhile since the country is sinked in electoral temperature, some political pundits belive the incoming election has a countribution to the increased numbers at Airport.
“I think that number might have increased as a result of the forthcoming elections that is scary to Ugandans basing on what has so far been seen in campaigns, Just like you have always seen in other countries when they are in elections, citizens always experience un usual fear and tend to secure peace abroad,” a political pundit noted.
Entebbe Airport Before COVID-19
Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Entebbe Airport was handling an average of 70,000 metric tonnes of cargo every year, up from 6,600 tonnes in 1991. Passenger numbers also grew from 118,527 in 1991 to 1.9 million last year.
However, UCAA figures showed Entebbe airport handled 426,187 passengers from January to May 2020 compared to 758,284 in the same period in 2019.
Uganda however recorded growths in passenger numbers in January and February 2020 compared to the first two months of 2019. In January 2020, passenger numbers grew by 7. 8 percent with a total of 174,212 people compared to the 161,475 recorded in January 2019.
Also, there was a 12.7 percent growth with a total of 158,280 passengers compared to the total of140, 438 recorded in February 2019.
However, from March to May, these gains were wiped away because passenger numbers dropped by 99 percent from over 140,000 passengers in each of these months in 2019 to under 1,200 passengers in the same period in 2020.