Uganda is set to reopen its air borders on October 1 after lifting restrictions on international travel, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced.
With airports closed for over six months due to COVID-19 restriction measures, flights into the country will resume on Thursday.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has stated there are 13 flights scheduled for the first day, and a further 10 set to arrive the day after. Flights will arrive at Entebbe International Airport, the nation’s primary international facility .
Phase one procedures
The resumption of international flights into Uganda is part of ‘Phase One’ procedures designed to get the country back on its feet again. As part of the new procedures, all entering passengers must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 polymerize chain reaction (PCR) test from their country of origin.
All tests must be carried out within 72 hours of arrival from an accredited laboratory. Ugandans returning to the country will be allowed to go home without quarantine measures if in possession of a negative test result. However, the Health Ministry will take addresses in the event of any necessary follow-ups.
When will flights resume?
International flights are scheduled to resume this Thursday, October 1. The UCAA has scheduled 13 flights on that day, with ten more flights the next day. Under current plans, the flight schedule is set to remain in place for three months.
However, there are no guarantees the situation will remain as it is. According to Vianney Luggya, the communications officer of the UCAA:
“This is a tentative schedule for planning purposes. It is part of an ongoing internal discussion between the airport authority and air operators,”
Which airlines will operate flights?
A variety of carriers including Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways have been informed of the changes by letter. The letter, sent by the UCAA, advises airlines on new procedures and schedules that will remain in place for the next three months.
Each carrier is expected to resume flights into the country, dependant on travel restrictions in their country of origin. Other airlines set to resume flights again include the nation’s flag carrier Uganda Airlines, KLM, Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways and flydubai.
What now for Uganda?
There were ambitious plans afoot at Entebbe International Airport which were suddenly curtailed by the global pandemic. In an exclusive interview with Simple Flying, UCAA officer Vianney Luggya laid out plans for a new terminal by early 2022. Presently, it looks highly unlikely the project will be finished on time.
Since the global COVID-19 outbreak in March, Uganda has completely shut its international borders and grounded all flights. The economic impact on the nation has been severe, with the tourism sector in particular hit hard.
With borders reopened, Uganda plans to gradually open up other important sectors including schools and places of worship.