Entebbe Airport undertakes Emergency Simulation exercise

June 17 2024

n emergency simulation exercise that involved ‘a crashed aircraft,’ was conducted by Entebbe international airport on Friday, The partial emergency exercise was carried out to test for its readiness in case of an emergency involving a passenger aircraft accident.

The two-hour exercise that started at 11a.m, involved a simulation of ‘Compact Air flight’ (pseudo name), with 100 passengers and crew on board. The exercise assumed that the flight lost power shortly after take-off and crashed at a spot adjacent to runway 12 threshold, before one of its engines caught fire.

It was presumed that 25 people lost lives and 15 of the survivors were critically injured, which sparked off an emergency situation involving airport fire-fighters and other rescue agencies that were called in ‘to save lives.’ Various hospitals were summoned and promptly responded with several ambulances and medical staff.

Vianney Luggya, the public relations manager for Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) explained that such an exercise is a mandatory requirement for international airports of countries that are contracting member states of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO). “A partial emergency exercise was last held in December 2020,” Luggya noted, adding that Uganda also conducted a full-scale emergency exercise on November 4, 2022.

The stakeholders that participated in the exercise include medics from various hospitals, Uganda Red Cross society, Kazuri medical centre, Uganda Airlines, Police medical services, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), ground handling agents, customs, Entebbe police fire brigade, Uganda funeral services, volunteers and national security agencies among many others.

From left; Emmanuel Barungi the general manager for Entebbe airport, Fred Bamwesigye the director general and Vianney Luggya the public relations manager for Uganda Civil Aviation Authority addressing the media immediately after the simulation exercise on Friday afternoon

Emmanuel Barungi, the general manager for Entebbe airport, explained that both partial and full-scale emergency simulation exercises are a requirement by the ICAO. “With partial incidents, we involve critical responders such as medics, security agencies, media among a few others, whereas, with full-scale, we involve the general public,” Barungi explained.

According to Fred Bamwesigye, the UCAA director general, the exercise helped to test emergency plans, procedures, communication framework, response times and coordination abilities in such unlikely occurrences. Justifying the relevance of conducting such drills, Bamwesigye noted that passenger numbers using Entebbe airport keep increasing every month, hence a need to continue prioritising safety.

A team of fire fighters that responsed to the emergency incident during the simulation exercise at Entebbe airport on Friday

Increased Passenger numbers

In May 2024, Entebbe airport facilitated 92,298 arrivals and 89,036 departures, a total of 181,334 international passengers which is an average of 5,849 passengers every day. “By the end of 2023, Entebbe airport recorded 1.93 million passengers compared to 1.57 million passengers in 2022,” Bamwesigye stated. In relation to cargo, imports were 2,442 metric ton while exports were 4,010 metric tons in May 2024.

Adopted from: The Excavator News June 16, 2024

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