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CAA Speaks Out On Shs150bn Needed To Reopen Entebbe Airport

Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has clarified on reports that it is seeking shs150bn to reopen Entebbe International Airport.

Two days ago, a local publication reported that the CAA needs the money to prepare the airport as the country eases restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, the authority says it needs the money as the source of revenue was cut off when flights were suspended.

“While the Authority previously collected an average of 20 billion shillings per month, in April 2020, only about 1 billion shillings was earned, the situation is worse at the moment and is not likely to improve in the next few months. The aviation industry will not immediately pick up in terms of passenger traffic even when passenger operations resume. This implies that the current financial shortfalls may prevail for the entire financial year (2020/2021) yet the Airport will be expected to render the same level of service amidst higher international expectations in a bid to restore confidence on measures in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 through air transport,” the statement says.

UCAA is mandated to regulate air transport in Uganda, manage and operate Entebbe International Airport and other aerodromes. It derives revenue for day-to-day running of activities, including infrastructure upgrade from air traffic in and out of the country.

Suspension of passenger operations in March 2020 had an impact on this revenue, which is used to sustain operations at Entebbe International Airport.

The statement adds, “The airport currently experiences space constraints leading to congestion, especially at peak hours, which calls for more space to avoid long queues. More advanced equipment for the Search Park, new Cargo Centre and existing terminal will also be required. All these (a number of which had been budgeted in anticipation of steady income) require massive financing yet the revenues have dwindled. UCAA substantially finances recurrent and development expenditure using internally generated revenue, which (as indicated) is not available at the moment.”

To allow social distancing, waiting areas including the Karibuni business class lounge, are being expanded or relocated, while doors and faucets shall be replaced with others with motion sensors.

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