Entebbe airport ready for NAM, G77 guests – govt

What you need to know:

  • While speaking at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) stakeholders’ engagement breakfast yesterday, Gen Katumba said this was because the airport has been expanded.

Entebbe International Airport can accommodate up to 70 aircraft that will carry visiting presidents during the forthcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 (G-77) +China Third South Summits in January next year, according to Works Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala.

While speaking at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) stakeholders’ engagement breakfast yesterday, Gen Katumba said this was because the airport has been expanded.

“Unlike during [Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting] Chogm [in 2007] when we got significant issues at the airport, now we have enlarged it and it will accommodate these aircraft fully,” he said.
The two summits, which will run back-to-back in Kampala from January 15 to 23, are expected to attract more than 5,000 delegates including heads of State from 134 states.

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The NAM Summit will be held under the theme: “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence” while the G-77 Third South Summit will focus on “Leaving No One Behind.”
During Chogm, Uganda secured space for only 20 planes of the heads of State yet the conference attracted 1,500 delegates from 59 countries, including the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Gen Katumba asked UCAA to speed up the ongoing works and train their personnel to “ ensure smooth and memorable passenger experience for all while according them the famed Ugandan hospitality”. 
Speaking at the meeting, the director general of UCAA, Mr Fred Bamwesigye, said they are winding up with ongoing works, which will be completed by December 30.

“We are ready to accommodate the 70 aircraft. There are various types of aircraft but we have planned for the average, like the size of the Presidential Gulfstream… and airbuses. ..We expect both small and big and that is why we have planned for the average size,” he said.
Mr Bamwesigye added: “Our usual average has been between 50 and 60 aircraft that could usually park for a long time but we have now upgraded. And all this will not interrupt the normal operations because passengers will keep moving. We are ready to handle all of them; special teams have been organised to receive NAM visitors.”

According to Mr Bamwesigye, UCAA has undertaken various works such as building a new passenger terminal of 20,000 square metres, which will be completed in July 2024,  construction of a VVIP parking area and setting up three more aerobridges, which will  bring the total number of aerobridges to five.
On completion of all the infrastructural upgrade projects,  he said the terminal building capacity will be enhanced from the current annual maximum capacity of 2 million passengers to at least 3.5 million passengers by July next year.

He also said the new cargo centre, which is already in operation,  has capacity for 100,000 metric tones per year. 
Mr Bamwesigye added that other expansion works at the airport that have been completed in the last two years include strengthening and rehabilitation of Runway 12/30 and its associated taxiways, strengthening of Runway 17/35 and associated taxiways. 

About the summits
Uganda took over the NAM leadership in May this year, the mantle they will steer until 2026. Hosting these significant conferences is part of their responsibility.
Ms Lucy Nakyobe, the chairperson of the National Organising Committee, recently told journalists that the country is secure to receive international visitors.

Adopted from: The Daily Monitor December 6, 2023

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