Entebbe International Airport set to be reopened

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has outlined all the Standard Operating Procedures that travelers will have to abide to after Entebbe Airport is finally reopened.

The corona-virus pandemic has affected several economic activities as Governments globally have locked-down in a bid to minimize the disease rapidly spreading. The aviation industry has been the worst-hit, especially where passenger flight operations were stopped. This has affected the industry revenues.

In March, President Yoweri Museveni directed the closure of Entebbe Airport and other entry/exits into and out of the country to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The directive was initially for 32 days but has since been extended indefinitely after several extensions of the lockdown.

But, as re-opening gets closer, passengers who had got used to airport security officials rummaging their packages and bags, removing belts and shoes before being subjected to thorough body checks, look set for even tougher times. For a start, passengers will have to arrive at least four hours before their flight.

Besides going through a long health check, wearing face masks at all times, maintaining social distance, washing hands and using sanitisers will be mandatory. Passengers with any of the symptoms of the novel coronavirus will be blocked from accessing the airport.

Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health said that the setting up of the strict measures were designed to allow airlines return to the skies, keep travelers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“You will be expected to have a valid COVID-19 certificate issued within 48 hours from where you are coming, and on arrival, we shall still take your COVID-19 samples,” Vianney Luggya, the publicist for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) said as quoted by the Independent Magazine, “You may have done the testing where you are coming from but it is mandatory that we still test you on arrival.”

Luggya said that the airport authorities have borrowed and domesticated several standard operating procedures from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Airports Council International, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Africa Civil Aviation Commission and the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency.

“We have domesticated these guidelines into protocols that will apply when passenger operations resume,” Luggya said, “There is emphasis on wearing masks by passengers and staff.”

The airport authorities have already erected tents for health screening of incoming passengers while designated tents have also been erected for people with symptoms.  Ugandans returning from abroad have already been screened in these areas.

Other SoPs developed by UCAA include; installation of automated sanitisers at strategic points at the airport to ensure social distancing, deployment of temperature guns, and three ultra-modern scans which detect temperature at a 30-metre distance.

These will be installed in the waiting lounges and rooms of Very Important Persons (VIPs). Glass shields to minimize contact between the passengers are also being installed while taps in the washrooms have been changed to non-touch faucets.

Luggya said that there are also plans to put in place automated non-touch doors in the passenger access areas. The pre-boarding lounges which for a long time have been small partitioned zones will be torn down to create more space for passengers. “Some of the changes are immediate while other interventions are medium term, Luggya said.


Read Full SOPs below

Pre-AirPort Entry

  1. The Airlines shall ensure that the travelers arrive at the airport at least 4 hours to boarding in order to go through the health and security screening requirements.
  2. All persons entering the airport shall in addition to security requirements; wear Ministry of Health (MOH) approved Face Masks, go through Thermal Screening, hand wash, and/or sanitize(hand/body).

Departures (Pre-Check-In)

Health Screening

  1. Travelers shall possess a valid Covid-19 certificate issued within 10 days before travel. It is not yet clear where this will be attained.
  2. Travelers shall observe physical/ social distancing of 1.5 metres throughout departure facilitation Chain to air craft boarding many of which have been marked.
  3. Travelers shall sanitize hand/body at all points of departure process up to aircraft boarding.
  4. Travelers shall sanitize(hand/body) before and after the crowd/queuing control point (waiting lobby).

Departure Health Desk

  1. All travelers shall present an authentic and valid Covid-19 diagnostic test certificate done within 48 hours before travel
  2. Travelers shall go through Health screening for the following Covid-19 symptoms: Fever, dry cough, running nose (flu), general weakness/tiredness, Chills. Serious symptoms will include; Difficult breathing or shortness of breath, Chest pain or pressure, Loss of speech, or movement.
  3. Travelers who show signs and symptoms of a communicable disease including. Covid-19 shall not be allowed to travel but taken for further checks and treatment.
  4. All facilitation desks/ counters used by Front line staff shall have glass shields(VIP, Immigration, customer care, checking counters, and security).

Security Screening

General Pre-Check-in Screening

Travelers shall show documents (ID and Ticket) to an aviation security officer at the crowd/queue control Point. The security personnel shall wear gloves. He/She shall sanitize after handling each passenger’s documents, and will dispose off the gloves after use.
Travelers will load their baggage on the x-ray machine.

Travelers will divest themselves of all items into the screening trays. Security staff shall wear gloves. He/She shall sanitize after handling each passenger baggage and will dispose off the gloves after use. The passenger will go through the Walk Through Metal Detector (WTMD).

Security Personnel will use a handheld metal detector for further or enhanced screening when WTMD triggers. Airport Operator shall decontaminate Screening Trays after each use. Security Personnel shall wear gloves. He/she shall sanitize after each passenger pat-down search and will dispose of the gloves after use. The security personnel shall dispose of the gloves immediately after use. Finally, a passenger shall pick up his/her baggage from the X-ray machine and joins the check-in queue.

Passengers with carry-on baggage shall divest all items on him/her including belts, watches, bracelets etc.on to tray for screening. Passenger shall separate electronic items including but not limited to laptops, phones, calculators, cameras, etc.into tray for screening.

After a passenger goes through the WTMD, Security Personnel will use a handheld metal detector for further or enhanced screening when WTMD triggers (No Body Pat-down of Passengers as far as practicable will be done at this point). Security staff shall decontaminate Screening Trays after each use. Security staff shall wear gloves and sanitize for passenger pat down where necessary.

Passenger Check-in

  1. Prior to check-in, Passenger Travel Documents verification shall be done following recommended health and safety guidelines.
  2. Passenger shall handover documents (ID and Ticket)and where applicable pre-printed boarding passes to Airline Check-in Staff for verification.
  3. Passenger will then drop bag on weighing belt.
  4. Airline staff shall sanitize hands, Print Baggage Tag/Boarding passes
  5. Airline staff shall tag the Bag/s.
  6. Airline Staff Hands over Boarding Pass and other related documents to Passenger
  7. Airline staff shall sanitize hands before handling the next customer
  8. Airport Operator shall disinfect baggage trolleys after each use.
  9. Airport Operator shall put on a glass shield in all check-in counters.

Immigration at Departures

At departure immigration, passengers will hand over travel documents to the Immigration Officer.

  1. Passenger will scan fingerprints under instruction by the immigration officer and sanitizes hands after.
  2. The immigration officer will provide an exit stamp and hands back travel document to passenger and sanitizes hands after.

Flight/Passenger Boarding

Crew Gates

At the departures crew gate, all crew (Pilot and Hostesses) shall go through all immigration requirements before accessing their flight through the crew gate (former domestic gate). At the Arrivals, all crew shall go through immigration requirements following crew lane.

Boarding Gates

Airline staff shall use Public Address system to give guidance, direction security and health announcements in order to minimize interaction between passengers and staff. Passengers shall show Boarding Pass to Airline Staff for validation, tears counterfoil upon confirmation and drops it into a container provided by the Airline.

Airline staff shall ensure passengers sanitizes hands before boarding the Aircraft. Airline Operator shall ensure social distancing guidance is followed in the course of boarding the aircraft.
Ground Handling Agent (GHA) disinfects ramp buses and any vehicle used before and after flight embarkation. Each bus will be befitted with standard automatic hand sanitizers at each entrance.

Flight Arrivals


  1. Airline Operator or their agent shall disembark passengers ensuring physical/social distancing. This means disembarking passengers in batches of 10-20.
  2. GHA shall decontaminate ramp bus before and after disembarkation of each flight.
  3. Passengers will then be guided into the Airport Health Desk for screening.

Port Health Desk

  1. All passengers shall sanitize hands/body upon entry into the Terminal;
  2. All passengers shall undergo thermo-scan screening and profiling done by port health officials.
  3. All arriving passengers shall be subjected to invasive Covid-19 testing where necessary(samples taking or rapid test), among others.
  4. All Passengers who show signs and symptoms of communicable disease including Covid-19 shall be isolated and taken for further checks and treatment.
  5. All positive testing passengers/ crews shall be isolated and taken to designated treatment centers. Established contact persons to the positive passengers shall go for 14 days’quarantine.
  6. Passenger shall proceed to immigration booths.

Immigration at Arrivals

  1. Passenger shall hand over travel documents to the immigration officer.
  2. Passenger shall scan fingerprints under the instruction of the immigration Officer and sanitizes hands after.
  3. The immigration officer shall sanitize hands after handling passenger travel documents.
  4. Passenger will pick their bags from the disinfected carousel and shall maintain social distance markings on floor.


At the customs screening point, passenger shall load baggage onto the x-ray machine and pick it up after screening.


All transit /transfer passengers shall be led/escorted by GHA Agent to the transfer desk or transit concourse after going through Port Health Screening.

Other Airport Services Provided

Airport Taxi and Hotel Shuttles Operation

  1. Airport taxis shall have their designated car park from where their operation will be regulated.
  2. Each taxi shall pick passengers at designated pick-up point queue.
  3. All drivers shall put on a standard face mask.
  4. Drivers shall sanitize the car handle and be ready to open for the client and also sanitize the client.
  5. The Driver will also take the temperature of the client, inquire and record the destination, and sanitize the car after delivering the client to their destination.
  6. Each taxi will carry one passenger unless confirmed to be a family

Foreign Exchange (Forex) Bureaus

Owners of these Forex bureaus will have to do the following;

  1. Put on PPE facial mask and gloves
  2. Ask the client to hand sanitize
  3. Sanitize before receiving cash
  4. Sanitize at the time of dispensing cash
  5. Dispose-off used gloves after every transaction in bio-hazard-yellow bins
  6. Regular disinfection of bureau biweekly
  7. Provide a glass shield both/counters with an opening at the bottom.

Airport Restaurants & Cafeteria

Owners of these restaurants will have to do the following;

  1. They shall have washing facilities and/or disinfectant at entry and exit.
  2. All sitting arrangement shall meet Covid-19 social distancing requirements.
  3. Depending on the numbers, temperature reading shall be done on all people accessing the premises

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