Uganda’s crown jewel, Entebbe International Airport, has remarkably cleared the safety audit steered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), emphasizing its adherence to global standards.
The validation comes from Fred Byamukama, the Minister of State for Transport, who gleamed with pride while breaking the news to the nation last Thursday.
“The results from the audit on September 18, 2023, projected Uganda with a laudable score of 72.17%. This not only symbolizes a marked uptick in Uganda’s safety metrics but also places us ahead of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESAF) regional average of 55.66% and the global benchmark of 67.68%,” he elaborated.
This accomplishment stands a testament to Uganda’s dedication to aviation safety, conveying a clear message to the international aviation sector about Uganda’s commitment to ICAO’s standards.
The significance of the ICAO audit cannot be understated. It is a pivotal instrument in determining the efficacy of a state’s civil aviation security. A poor score might result in severe repercussions, including potential flight restrictions imposed by other nations.
Mr. Byamukama further added, “The feedback from the auditing team was overwhelmingly positive, lauding the regulator for the meticulous certification of Entebbe International Airport and the re-certification process for Uganda Airlines.”
He earnestly appealed to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the associated stakeholders to continue their exemplary performance, emphasizing the need to maintain the high standards observed during the audit. Such diligence would solidify a resilient state oversight mechanism in the aviation sector.
However, he cautioned that the current results from ICAO are tentative, with the conclusive report slated for release six months post-audit. “History has shown that there’s typically minimal variance between the preliminary and final findings,” Byamukama said optimistically.
In retrospective comparison, the previous ICAO audit in 2014, known as the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM), saw Uganda at 61.64%. The ICVM’s primary objective was to gauge the effectiveness of rectifications implemented after a preceding audit. Contrarily, the recent Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP-CMA) is an exhaustive safety audit.
In another feather to its cap, Uganda clinched a score of 81.8% in the 2017 Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP), surpassing the global mean of 72%. This achievement garnered Uganda the prestigious ICAO President’s Certificate during the 2019 ICAO General Assembly in Montreal, Canada. It’s essential to discern that a security audit varies significantly from a safety audit.
Reiterating Uganda’s achievements, the State Minister for Transport said, “Our past and current performances distinctly manifest Uganda’s unwavering resolve to champion supreme safety and security standards in aviation.”
With such a commitment, it’s clear that the skies over Uganda are amongst the safest. The nation’s dedication to upholding international aviation standards is evident and commendable.