Entebbe Airport, the main international gateway into Uganda saw its busiest start to the year in January, in passenger traffic and cargo volume, signaling a gradual recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel.
The airport handled 149,375 passengers in January 2023, which is a significant increase from the 110,547 passengers recorded in the same month in 2022. The average daily passenger traffic in January 2023 was 4,818, compared to an average of 3,563 passengers in January 2022, representing a 35% increase.
In December 2022, the airport recorded a total of 156,790 passengers, which is a substantial increase from the 123,576 passengers recorded in December 2021. The total number of arriving and departing passengers in 2022 was 1,574,405, compared to 941,688 in 2021, representing a whopping 67% increase. The airport recorded 565,541 passengers in 2020 and 1,802,107 in 2019.
The post-COVID-19 recovery rate for the airport currently stands at 87%, which is an impressive feat considering the challenges faced by the aviation industry during the pandemic.
In terms of cargo, the airport recorded 5,014 metric tons in January 2023, with exports accounting for 65% (3,262 metric tons) and imports accounting for 35% (1,752 metric tons). This represents a slight decrease from the 5,146 metric tons recorded in January 2022.
However, the overall trend for cargo volume at the airport is positive, with a total of 61,066 metric tons of cargo recorded in 2022, compared to 64,172 metric tons in 2021, 59,720 metric tons in 2020, and 64,701 metric tons in 2019. The majority of the cargo volume is made up of exports, which account for approximately 60% of the total cargo volume.
The growth in passenger traffic and cargo volume at Entebbe International Airport is a positive sign for the aviation industry in Uganda and the region as a whole.
The increase in passenger traffic is an indication that people are becoming more confident about traveling, while the growth in cargo volume is a testament to the country’s efforts to promote exports and trade.
The airport’s management and other stakeholders in the aviation industry need to continue working together to ensure that the positive trend is sustained and that the airport remains competitive and attractive to airlines and travelers alike.