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Entebbe airport reopens without curfew

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Passengers entering and exiting are exempt from overnight traffic restrictions if their flights fall within stopping hours, said Entebbe Deputy District Commissioner Njuki Mbabali.

Uganda holds a night curfew starting at 9pm to5:30am, as one of the measures taken by the government to control movement-to-person interactions.

Newky said now that Entebbe International Airport has reopened, flight passengers will be allowed to move during the curfew. For example, Turkish Airlines, the first commercial flight at the airport after reopening, arrived at 3 a.m. and departed with several passengers at 4:50 p.m.

Newkie adds that security agencies have been informed to allow passengers who will be moving to and from Entebbe Airport during the time of the clock stop. However, he adds, all travelers must present their passports and airline tickets whenever they are stopped.

Additional port health measures put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus-COVID-19 disease require departing passengers to report to Entebbe Airport at least four hours before departure time.

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Police spokesman Fred Enanga says stopping and security search teams along the Kampala-Entebbe highway will work in partnership with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) and the Aviation Police to ensure that only flight passengers move during the curfew .

Crews will also check flight schedules to make sure people do not benefit, Enanga said, but we do not expect anyone having a flight at 5am to arrive at the airport before 9pm, so security teams will ensure that such passengers do not meet any obstacles.
Meanwhile, there is a noticeably heavy landing at the airport as commercial flights resumed today on October 1st. There are eight police officers stationed at the main entrance to ensure that the passengers getting out of the vehicles have their body temperatures measured and their hands cleaned before continuing. to the airport.

Police officers are also deployed around parking areas, arrival and departure sections, and waiting areas inside and outside the passenger terminal. Several security operatives, in plain clothes and airport security officers, are implementing anti-COVID-19 measures inside the passenger terminal. For example, each person should wear a face mask and also respect social distance.

Social distance signs are placed in most public spaces, such as waiting rooms, check-in areas among others. The airport was partially closed on March 23, 2020, as a way to combat the spread of coronavirus-COVID-19 disease. Over time, only emergency flights, which included mostly returning nationals and cargo, were allowed to land at the airport.

According to new guidelines issued by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, every airline except Uganda Airlines will operate only one flight daily in the first phase of reopening, covering the months of October to December 2020. The national airline will perform two flights a day to Nairobi, four times to Juba and Dar-es-salaam and three times to Mogadishu.

Roger Wamara, commercial director of Uganda Airline says the airline has increased the cost of its commercial airline tickets by an average of 3 per cent to cover additional costs such as personal protective equipment among others to combat the spread of COVID-19. He adds that the Mogadishu and Juba lines have so far attracted over 50 passengers for the flight while Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam are expected to take off in the coming months.

As the airport reopened, Turkish Airlines was the first to operate a departing flight bound for Istanbul at 4:05 a.m., followed by a Uganda Airlines flight to Mogadishu at 6:45 a.m. and Nairobi at 10 a.m.

UCAA spokeswoman Vianney Luggya says all 16 airline operators will operate scheduled passenger flights through Entebbe. Egypt Air will make its first flight on October 9, 2020, while KLM will launch on Saturday, October 3 and will operate four flights a week, according to Lukia Otema, the country manager of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Otema says many people are still reluctant to travel because of the concerns of COVID-19. An official from Brussels Airlines shares the same feelings saying that less than 60 people have so far booked airline tickets for his first flight to Brussels scheduled for October 4th. The aircraft may, however, have the capacity to transport over 200 passengers.

Eunice Nabukenya, a travel and travel agent says it will take several months before air travel regains its vibrancy. She says her company has not yet received any reservations for the next three months, adding that the upcoming 2021 general election could worsen the situation.

In addition to people traveling for medical and work-related reasons, I think tourists will start coming to Uganda after March next year, says Nabukenya.

Carol Naava, operations officer at Ganyana Safaris Ltd, says the company has also not received any bookings for the next three months.

“However, people who love safari in advance say two or three months before boarding flights. So I do not think there will be many people coming to Uganda by the end of the year,” she said.

Meanwhile, George Wangaya, manager of Awel Tours and Travel Ltd, says he has only received three bookings, one client wants to come to Uganda while the other two want to travel for work abroad. He says the resumption of commercial flights will relieve passengers of the high cost of airline tickets that some had to pay for rental flights during the partial closure.

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