With Entebbe International Airport’s growing passenger volumes from a paltry 118,000 in 1991 to 1.65 million passengers in 2017 and 1.84 million passengers in 2018 respectively, State Minister for transport Aggrey Bagiire has called on more Airline Operators to invest in Uganda’s Aviation industry.
Minister Bagiire who addressed the 40th session of ICAO Assembly that was recently held in Montreal, Canada, congratulated the aviation fraternity on ICAO’s 75th Anniversary and also made a rallying call to all prospective entrepreneurs to invest in the aviation sub-sector in Uganda.
Government Of Uganda has Liberalized air transport market access and airline ownership to facilitate trans-national investments in airlines and aviation businesses. I wish to invite prospective entrepreneurs to take advantage of this opportunity and invest in the aviation sub-sector in Uganda and due to its geographical location, Uganda is a key provider of air navigation facilities and services for flights to and from Uganda and those transiting Africa, thus contributing to safety, security, efficiency and sustainability of global aviation. Uganda is land-linked and therefore air transport is critical for our economy, especially for the tourism industry and international trade. Since 1967 when Uganda became a Contracting State of ICAO, Government continues to prioritize air transport, Minister Bagiire stated.
Minister Bagiire added;
Uganda has and will continue to contribute to the implementation of ICAO Strategic Objectives and the “No Country Left Behind” Initiative by providing short-term expertise for training, especially in Africa and also to participate in ICAO Universal Security Audit Program (USAP)- Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) audit missions. The Council President’s Certificate awarded to Uganda on 24th September 2019 was indeed an honour and encouragement for us to perform much better. Uganda’s recognition was for an excellent score of 81.8% in the USAP – CMA Audit, which was well above the global average of 73% and also well above the African and Indian Ocean (AFI) States average of 58%. Uganda pledges to return to this podium at the 41st ICAO Assembly, this time, for the President’s certificate awards in both Safety and Security. Regarding Safety and Security assurance, Government has amended the Civil Aviation Act to strengthen the oversight mechanism and ensure effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
Minister Bagiire also noted that to continuously provide training to civil aviation professionals and enhance human resource capacity within the region, the East African Civil Aviation Academy, Soroti, located in Eastern Uganda, is being revamped.
He also revealed that Government has also embarked on the process of establishing other aviation training facilities at Entebbe International airport and other parts of the country. Minister Bagiire also noted that Uganda has made financial contributions to the special ICAO Plans for improving aviation security in Africa and hosted important meetings such as AFI Week held in Kampala in May 2019.
Minister Bagiire among others also highlighted the ongoing upgrade, expansion and modernization of Entebbe International Airport to increase operational capacity and efficiency and also revealed that the Government has taken a cautious but well-informed decision to revive the National Airline (Uganda Airlines) to improve and facilitate movement of passengers and cargo both on regional and international routes.
On her part, the Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu, acknowledged the Uganda Government’s commitment to improving the aviation sector and advised that “Uganda needs to strategically prioritize Aviation as an investment vehicle”.
Uganda’s delegation at the 40th session of ICAO Assembly includes Members of Parliament, some Members of the Board of Directors and Management of UCAA, plus Ministry of Works and Transport officials to ensure that all stakeholders appreciate the role of ICAO and support the Aviation industry.