Cargo Could Be the Silver Lining – UCAA
By Mariam Namakula
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has embarked on a deliberate plan to increase on the cargo operations handled at the National Airport in Entebbe as this could help leverage the impacts of Covid 19 towards the business.
According to the UCAA spokesperson, Vianney .M. Luggya, this was partly because amid the covid 19 pandemic and the challenges brought about by the impromptu lockdown in 2020, cargo operations were still sustained a thing that kept the business going .
“While international passengers traffic reduced from 1,900,000 passengers in 2019 to 565,541 passenger in 2020 owing to the covid 19 impact on air transport operations , cargo increased from 42,000 metric tonnes in 2019 to 58,898 tonnes in 2020,” Luggya said
Luggya also noted that during the suspension of commercial passenger operations, several airlines thought of innovative ways of remaining in business thereby reconfiguring passenger air craft to be used for cargo with authorization from regulators
Entebbe Airport handled 5,977 metric tonnes of cargo in March 2021 up from 4,766 tonnes in Feb 2021. 58,000 tonnes were handled in 2020 compared to 42,000 in 2019.
There was also a slight increase in the international pax used Entebbe Airport 76,233 in March 2021, an average of 2,459 per day, up from 2,194 per day in Feb 2021 & 1,863 in Jan 2021.
Though there was still a long way to measure up to the 5,409 pax per day in 2019, UCAA, acknowledged that there was some light at the end of the tunnel.
The optimistic trend though, “the silver lining to Covid 19” aligns with the objectives put in place for the ongoing works aimed at constructing new State of The Art Cargo Centre that looks forward to increasing that rate at which cargo flows at the airport.
“That’s the rationale for on-going work for a state-of-the-art new cargo centre with capacity to handle 100,000 metric tonnes of cargo per year. This will have a provision for future extension to accommodate 150,000 metric tonnes incase need arises,” said Luggya
This was to cater for the Fresh produce as well with provision of cold rooms to enhance agricultural exports
The cargocentre is part of the 720 billion Shillings project undertaken by China Communications Construction Company to expand and upgrade EntebbeInternationalairport.
Cargo is seen as the financial backbone of any airport or airline that looks forward to develop and make profits in the business, a thing that has even been recognized and adopted internationally.