Qatar Airways is set to resume flights to Entebbe International Airport on October 2, a plan that comes after the East African nation has re-opened its aviation sector to tourists.
President Museveni on Sunday allowed the airport and borders to reopen for tourists, setting conditions of a Covid-19 negative test 72 hours before departure and zero physical interaction with locals.
The Qatari flag carrier will also be flying to Seychelles and Windhoek, Namibia.
Eng. Sooma Ayub, the director of Airports and Aviation Security at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), recently released a flight schedule, showing that on October 1 the airport would start accepting passenger flights.
The director wrote to airline bosses, including those of Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopia Airways, Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, and Uganda Airlines on September 8, informing them of the development.
The closure of the airport has heavily impacted key sectors, including the tourism sector which is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner.
In May, President Museveni announced that the country was set to lose $1.6 billion from the tourism sector since the airport had been shut from passenger flights and millions of tourists in the country are foreigners.
Uganda earned about Shs5. 8 trillion from tourism in the 2018/2019 financial year, making the sector the country's leading foreign currency earner for the fifth year in a row, according to government data.
The number of tourists in 2019 reached 1,505,669 up from 1,402,409 in 2017. In the FY2018/19, the tourism sector accounted for 7.7 percent of the national GDP and 6.7 percent of total national employment after creating 667,600 jobs.
Qatar Airways will fly to Entebbe three times in a week.
"We are proud to be the leading global airline connecting passengers with the world, helping take people safely and sustainably to where they need to be. Having one of the youngest, most fuel-efficient fleets enables us to be agile and respond quickly to passenger demand. Our focus throughout the rebuild of our network is not only on restarting destinations but also operating as many frequencies as possible to provide our passengers the flexibility to travel when they want," said Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
“By continuing to fly during the pandemic while others stopped, we have gained the trust of passengers as an airline they can rely on. We have taken more international passengers home than any other airline during this pandemic and as entry restrictions ease, we remain focused on our fundamental mission of carrying passengers across the globe safely and reliably. There are still millions of people who have not been able to be reunited with their friends and families and it is heartwarming to know our growing network will provide them an opportunity to travel home or take a trip to see loved ones.”
As the airport reopens, some of the SOPs that will guide the safe reopening of the airport include having automated sanitizing facilities at strategic points, marks at the airport to ensure social distancing, acquisition of temperature guns, and ultra-modern scans to detect the temperature at a 30-meter distance.