By John Agaba
Transport minister, Abraham Byandala, presiding over the civil aviation authority’s 20-year master plan consultative meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel on Thursday, revealed the Government was fast-tracking security measures at the Entebbe International Airport.
Several CAA staff and air transport stakeholders attended the meeting and listened to the proposed new redesign of the Entebbe Airport which is ultra-modern and on implementation will standardize the airport.
The redesign, among others, proposes an expanded international terminal plus a new domestic passenger terminal and a new cargo area.
It proposes creation of a new aircraft maintenance area, new fuel tanks, new and larger taxi ways and new aircraft aprons, generally face-lifting the airport to international standards.
Minister Byandala said he was finalizing a report which he will send to the President (Yoweri Museveni) to guide on security steps the government should take to ensure maximum security at the airport.
“We need maximum security at the airport,” said Byandala. “If we do not come up with new security measures, planes will stop coming here. There are lots of terrorists.”
Part of the new security measures, he said, will be instituting new security systems at the airport that can detect whatever object someone is carrying, without them necessarily queuing through metal detectors.
This move, he said, would also decongest the boarding areas and reduce the traffic at the check-in and check-out points inside the airport.
The artistic impression of a revamped Entebbe Airport. Photo by Wilfred Sanya
CAA MD Rama Makuza (L) and minister of works and transport Abraham Byandala. PHOTO/Wilfred Sanya
He, however, said the new measures didn’t mean the airport was at threat; they were just precaution.
By 2015, he said, the new security measures should be fully installed.
Stakeholders heard that the authority also considered refurbishing the Soroti Flying School and instituting new and high-tech equipment in some of the internal airports in the country.
Rama Makuza, CAA’s managing director, said, air transport, which in Uganda started in 1929, has over the years grown and enabled the entrance of many tourists into the country, despite the many challenges.
These include, among others, the limited capacity of the airport to accommodate bigger international airlines, the lack of alternate airports in the country, the high aviation security costs and congested passenger service points.
Under the redesign, he said, the authority also wants to expand the airport’s runways and car park and to relocate the fuel tanks.
Makuza revealed over 60% of the tourists who come into the country use air transport, specifically the Entebbe Airport.