1,600 Ugandan pilgrims set for Mecca

A Pilgrim boards the Uganda Airlines Airbus A330. (L-R) the Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Katumba Wamala, third Deputy Premier Ms Rukia Isanga Nakadama and the Ambassador of Royal kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Uganda Sheikh Jamal Al – Madani flagging off the Pilgrims to Mecca for Hajj on June 19, 2023 at Entebbe Airport. Photo | Paul Adude.

What you need to know:

  • This number is higher than the 1,300 pilgrims who travelled last year.

A total of 1,600 pilgrims from Uganda are expected to travel to Mecca through Entebbe International Airport between June 1-7, 2024, according to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).

This number is higher than the 1,300 pilgrims who travelled last year.

"While we facilitated 1,300 pilgrims last year, we have already confirmed over 1,600 for the first week of June 2024," said Vianney Luggya, Manager of Public Affairs at UCAA, in an interview with the Monitor.

Due to the expected increase in traffic, departing passengers are advised to plan for more time to avoid missing their flights.

"In the past, pilgrims to Mecca have been accompanied by many friends and family members, leading to congestion on the road to the airport. We advise passengers to plan for extra time to avoid delays," Mr Luggya said.

UCAA has been working closely with the Uganda Bureau of Haj Affairs to ensure a smooth experience for the pilgrims.

A designated area in the car parking lot has been reserved for pilgrims to gather and receive briefings before their departure. Motorists will also be guided on traffic flow.

In April 2024, Entebbe International Airport recorded a total of 164,705 international passengers, with an average of 5,313 passengers per day.

The departing pilgrims are expected to contribute significantly to the June and July traffic statistics.

"We warmly welcome the pilgrims, who annually contribute to boosting passenger traffic at Entebbe," Mr Luggya said.

In terms of cargo, Entebbe International Airport recorded a total of 5,721 metric tonnes in April 2024, comprising 1,768 metric tonnes of imports and 3,953 metric tonnes of exports.