Entebbe Airport expansion at 90 percent complete as passenger traffic rises

Part of the new terminal building under construction by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) at Entebbe International Airport. The works are at 60 percent. Photo/Eve Muganga

What you need to know:

  • Overall, the project works are at 90 percent level of completion. The other pending work is expansion of Apron 1, which is at 95 percent  level of completion

The project for upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport stands at 90 percent level of completion, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s (UCAA) Director General, Mr Fred Bamwesigye has said.

“The major remaining project is the 20,000 square meters terminal building, currently under construction to connect to the existing terminal building and is at 60 percent level of completion. Overall, the project works are at 90 percent level of completion. The other pending work is expansion of Apron 1, which is at 95 percent  level of completion,” Mr Bamwesigye said while addressing a press conference at Entebbe International Airport on Friday, April 19.

He said other earlier completed works under the $200 million project being implemented by China Communications Construction Company, CCCC include; resurfacing of runways 17/35 and 12/30 plus their associated taxiways, construction of a 100,000 tonnes capacity Cargo Centre and resurfacing of Aprons 2 and 4.

He added that on completion of the new terminal building, whose works in 2024, the terminal capacity will be enhanced from the previous maximum capacity of two million passengers a year to at least 3.5 million passengers and this will address the growing traffic.

“In March, 2024, Entebbe International Airport handled 80,719 arriving and 91,271 departing passengers, a total of 171,990 international passengers, an average of 5,548 passengers per day. This comes on the heels of increased traffic, averaging over 6,000 passengers per month in the previous three months. 6,418 passengers per day were handled in December 2023, 6,329 per day in January 2024 and 6,116 passengers per day  in February 2024. 2023 recorded a total of 1.93 million passengers in comparison to the pre-COVID 19 pandemic figure of 1.8 million passengers in 2019. The new facilities and on-going projects are meant to address the growing traffic,” Mr Bamwesigye said.

Referring to the recent heavy downpour in Entebbe which caused flooding of some part of the airport’s car parking on April 6, 2024 due to backflow, Mr Bamwesigye said the viral videos, unfortunately created the wrong impression that the situation lasted for a big part of the day, yet the water drained within 30-45 minutes.

“On that particular day, the Uganda National Meteorological Authority issued a report indicating that Entebbe received rain up to 106.8 mm, the highest maximum fall recorded in a single day. Nevertheless, it is also important to note that some of the existing structures at Entebbe Airport were first put up in the 70s, and more buildings have been added as part of the infrastructure upgrade. The on-going construction of the new terminal building has a component for interconnection of the drainage system to accommodate the new developments, and all these pending works are scheduled for completion this year. The public is urged to bear with the temporary inconvenience as mitigation measures and all the projects are being finalized for a better passenger experience,” he said.

Mr Bamwesigye also urged Ugandans to be more patriotic and not pride in sharing images of that nature, which negatively impacts tourism.

The UCAA Director Airports and Aviation Security, Eng Ayub Sooma  said the second phase of the expansion works, which is yet to start will include widening of the runway “from the current code 4E to code 4F so that it can comfortably  accommodate the biggest commercial aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380.”