Entebbe International Airport in Uganda is gearing up for the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 (G-77) + China Third South Summits scheduled for January next year. The airport’s recent expansion has increased its capacity, allowing it to accommodate up to 70 aircraft that will transport visiting presidents during the back-to-back summits. Works Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala highlighted these developments at a recent Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) stakeholders’ engagement breakfast.
Airport Expansion for Seamless Operations
The expansion of Entebbe International Airport addresses the lessons learned from past events, such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007. During CHOGM, the airport faced significant challenges in handling the influx of aircraft and delegates. Gen Katumba emphasized that the current expansion ensures the airport’s readiness to fully accommodate the expected 5,000 delegates, including heads of state from 134 countries attending the NAM and G-77 + China summits.
Upcoming Summits and Themes
Scheduled to take place in Kampala from January 15 to 23, the NAM Summit will focus on “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence,” while the G-77 Third South Summit will center on “Leaving No One Behind.” These high-profile events necessitate adequate infrastructure and logistics planning, and the expanded airport aims to provide a seamless experience for all participants.
UCAA’s Commitment to Readiness
During the stakeholders’ engagement breakfast, Gen Katumba urged UCAA to expedite ongoing works and train personnel to ensure a smooth and memorable experience for all delegates, emphasizing the renowned Ugandan hospitality. Fred Bamwesigye, the director general of UCAA, assured attendees that ongoing works would be completed by December 30, well ahead of the summits.
Key Infrastructure Upgrades
Mr. Bamwesigye outlined the ongoing and completed infrastructure projects at Entebbe International Airport. These include the construction of a new passenger terminal spanning 20,000 square meters, set to be completed in July 2024. Additionally, a VVIP parking area and three new aerobridges are being added, increasing the total number of aerobridges to five. These enhancements are aimed at accommodating a greater number of aircraft efficiently.
Projected Improvements and Capacity
Upon completion of the ongoing infrastructure projects, the airport’s terminal building capacity will be increased from the current maximum of 2 million passengers annually to at least 3.5 million passengers by July next year. Furthermore, the newly operational cargo center has a capacity for handling 100,000 metric tons per year, enhancing the airport’s logistics capabilities.
As Uganda prepares to host the NAM and G-77 + China summits, the expanded capacity of Entebbe International Airport reflects the nation’s commitment to providing world-class facilities for international events. The infrastructure upgrades not only address the immediate needs of the upcoming summits but also position the airport for continued growth and efficiency in handling air traffic in the years to come.