Passenger terminal upgrade rings in phase one of Entebbe overhaul

Come July of this year, work at the main passenger terminal of Entebbe International Airport should have started, according to a source based at the airport. The congestion at the check-in area during peak periods of operations have been for long a thorn in the side of the airlines and their passengers, leading to complaints by the air operators and from passengers alike, but to little avail until now.

An airport development masterplan, long in the making, has so far failed to achieve major changes at EBB, among those the decade-plus-long intent to move the current cargo section to the old airport side, where a cargo village was to have been built. Only when that has been accomplished, can a substantial expansion to the present passenger terminal be constructed, in the meantime leaving the existing building to cope with ever rising numbers, projected to reach up to 7.5 percent per annum.

Bottlenecks in the handling of both departing and arriving passengers have relegated the once shining facility to an airport also in the wider Eastern African region. In particular Kigali, Nairobi, and the soon-to-be-complete new terminal in Dar es Salaam, now offer state-of-the-art facilities, while Entebbe remained rooted in the 20th century.

The work scope at the departure terminal is reportedly expected to incorporate some of the outside spaces, rendered redundant when vehicular drop-offs of passengers, apart from government VIPs and diplomats, were halted several years ago. This move compels passengers to lug their baggage over long distances from the parking to the terminal itself, without the help of escalators or elevators for that matter.