On Friday, the Board of Air Services and Licensing Committee of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) listened to eight applicants for scheduled and non-scheduled air operations.
Four were for renewal of license while four were new applicants.
This was during the 48th UCAA license public hearing at Kampala Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.
During the public hearing, the applicants made a case for their services, offering both successes and challenges.
The new applicants for an air service license are Safari Air International Ltd, Panafric Aviation Ltd, DOTT Services Ltd and Aberdair Aviation Uganda Ltd.
The applicants for renewal are Entebbe Airways, Uganda Air Cargo, KAFTC trading as BAR Aviation and Samaritan's Purse International.
Justice Steven Kavuma, the UCAA chairman board of directors, said the committee was impressed by the applicants, saying they would add value to and spur the development of air services in Uganda.
He said he is optimistic about the future of Uganda's aviation industry, which is in the COVID-19 recovery phase and intends to boost the tourism industry.
'Light at the end of the tunnel'
Capt. Mike Mukula, a professional pilot, is the chairman board of directors of Safari Air International Ltd. He said that given the license, the aircraft will complement the other partners in ensuring growth of the industry.
He pledged to create employment opportunities for local people, as well as flight operations training.
Vianney Mpungu Luggya, the UCAA manager of public affairs, welcomed the applicants, citing hope for aviation after the pandemic greatly affected its growth.
“If these applications are coming in, to us it is light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
"That shows that our goal of boosting the tourism industry will thrive, even when COVID came and disorganized us."
According to the aviation report, there were over 1.98 million international passengers who travelled through Entebbe International Airport in 2019, making 5,000 passengers per day.
However, the number reduced to only 1,500 passengers per day in 2020. In 2021, it slightly increased to 2,500 per day.
In January 2022, the number increased to 3,500 per day and to 3,700 in March. The report puts the number of passengers per day to over 3,800 today.