Air transport refers to movement of people from one country to another by use of airplanes. Air transport is quite fast but also expensive at the same time. the air transport dates in back in the 1950s where Entebbe airport was established by the British who were then colonial masters of uganda. Entebbe was established as the regional air hub of Africa due to the strategic location of uganda. so from the 1954, air transport started operating as the British air crafts could operate as they could transport people and also the merchandise that were got from uganda taken to Britain. However, Uganda got its first national aircraft during amin’s regime in the 1970s. it was later dissolved in 1998 due to the losses and scare of getting bankrupt. The air transport system in Uganda has been growing gradually as more people around the world are interested in uganda for its tourism potentials and business engagements with other countries. Over 20 international and regional airbuses are operating at Entebbe international airport.
Air transport is important in Uganda because it guarantees a getaway to the rest of world thinking of the fact that Uganda is a landlocked country. It provides the fastest and most efficient transport means to and from Uganda. Most of the country’s perishables such as fish, flower, fruits and vegetables are transported by air.
Uganda has one international airport, referred to as Entebbe international airport. The airport is located about 40 kilometers south west of Kampala city. It lies stride the equator and boarders Africa’s biggest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria.
Uganda has the following airfields; Soroti air field, Mbarara airfield, lira airfield, Masindi airfield, Jinja airfield, Moroto airfield, Tororo airfield and Kisoro airfield.
Air transport in Uganda has been summarized into categories such as
- Entebbe international airport
- Services and facilities at the airport
There are a variety of services at the airport that are offered these have helped to simplify people’s lives and easing the mode of transportation. Some of the services offered at the airport;
- There are transport facilities offered at the airport such as airport taxis, rental cars, buses, and shuttles. And there are also companies that offer car rental services.
- Tourism, business and money are also some of the services offered at the airport. The CAA customer care desk provides tourist information and is open 24 hours. Information on tours and safaris can also be obtained from tourism Uganda on the ground floor. There are also plenty of tour operators around Entebbe who arrange tour packages.
- Flight information
Information about the airport operation is available 24hoirs to the airport. Flight information display boards and public information desks and conveniently located in the passenger terminal building.
- Baggage facilities
Misconnected and lost baggage is reported to the ground handling company office at the arrival hall or to the airline in which the passenger arrived. And for the items lost at the airport they can be reported at the aviation security office on the departures floor. Passenger handling staff are available to assist the elderly and disabled.
- Airline lounge or travel clubs
There is a privately managed departure lounge called karibuni. It renders world class service in a natural setting, it has beautiful flora and water fountains, a TV screen and internet service is available in the lounge.
- Child facilities
The long term development plan at the airport has provided and taken care of the child service facilities.
- Facilities for passengers with special needs
Such as wheel chairs, lifts, ramps, covered walkways and help line services are available. Passenger handling staff assist the passengers with special needs.
- Smoking areas
- Duty free shops
- Restaurants and bars at the airport
- Challenges with air transport
- Insufficient funds
Shortage of enough funds to keep pace with the advancement in airport equipment and technology is a challenge for the civil aviation authority.
There’s high threat of terrorism to Uganda and such attacks could be happen in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers therefore equipment and resources to stop terrorism from coming through are highly necessary.
- Unskilled personnel
There is considerable shortage of mid- level managers and technicians at the airport. More staff should be trained in order to acquire the necessary skills to enable them to fill the positions.
- Low passenger numbers
The problem of low passenger numbers has increased yet the number of airline operator’s has continued to grow. This may result into unhealthy competition.
- High operation costs.
Air transport has been very expensive over the years due to the fees charged at the international airports and increasing fuel rates. The airlines then pass the burden to passengers with increased airfares.
- Airlines with offices in Uganda
- Air Uganda
- Eagle Uganda
Tel; 0414344292/ 0414344501
- Emirates Airlines
8 Kimathi Avenue
- United Airlines
kimathi avenue, pan Africa
- Egypt Air
Shop 11 grand imperial arcade
And so many more
- Accommodation around the airport.
There are a number of hotels around the airport only with 10km from the airport. The hotels offer shuttles services and they shuttles park at the arrivals gate. Hotel reservations can be done on arrival using airport operations. The following are hotels with in 10km of reach from the airport.
- Imperial resort hotel
- Lake Victoria hotel
- Imperial golf view hotel
- The lodge
- Airport view hotel
And many more.
- Passenger and cargo
The total number of passengers passing through Entebbe international airport increased from 1449824 in 2014 to 1520439 in 2015 indicating a 4.9 percent increase. This was contributed to by a 5.5% increase in number to the airport passengers from 1427035 to 1505505 and a 34.5% decrease in the number of domestic passengers from 22789 to 14934. There was an increase in the transit passengers through Entebbe international airport from 94536 in 2014 to 130391 in 2015 representing a 37.9% increase. Domestic passengers who landed in Entebbe international airport registered a decline of 37.2% in 2015 compared to those in 2014 from 12164 in 2014 to 7634 passengers respectively.
The volume of unloaded and loaded cargo realized and increase in percentage of 5.5 and 1.4 respectively. The volume of unloaded cargo increased from 20644tonnes in 2014 to 21789tonnes in 2015 while that of loaded cargo increased from 32198 in 2014 to 32661 in 2015.
- Domestic airports
Some of the domestic airports in Uganda include the following;
- Kasese airport
It is located in Kasese town near Kasese district at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, close to the international border with the democratic republic of Congo. It is located approximately 262km by air west of Entebbe international airport.
- Arua airport
The airport is located in Arua town northern Uganda close to the international borders with the boarder of DRC and south Sudan. It is approximately 371km by air, northwest of Entebbe international airport. Its strategic location makes Arua airport an important center for both commercial and passenger air traffic between Uganda and her two neighbors, DRC and south Sudan.
- Mbarara airport
Located approximately 10 miles by road northwest of Mbarara town on the road to ibanda. The location is approximately 212km by air, southwest of Entebbe international airport.
- Moyo airport
Located in Moyo town west Nile in northern Uganda close to the international border with south Sudan. Its location is approximately 406 kilometers by air, north of Entebbe international airport.
- Pakuba airport
It is a small civilian airport that serves Murchison falls national park and approximately 275 kilometers by air, northwest of Entebbe international airport
- Airlines operating at Entebbe international airport
- Ethiopian airlines
- Turkish airlines
- Qatar airlines
- Rwandair express
- Air Uganda
- Kenya airways
- Eagle air
- Asante airways
- British airways
- Brussels airlines
- Egypt airline
- Emirates airlines
- Fly 50
- Ethiopian airline
- Sky jet aviation
- South African airline