Uganda Civil Aviation Authority plans for weather variations.

Diana Kibuuka

Mid-April this year 2024, Entebbe International Airport was put to a test of about less than a 45mins flash flood, that brought some tension to some Ugandans who thought it was a failed drainage, amidst a 95% completion of the airport’s first phase facelift that is in progress.

Entebbe International Airport is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), whose role is; to coordinate the principles and techniques of international air navigation, and to foster planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

Climate change is one of the ICAO’s mandates, under the ICAO Environment policy that, aims at reducing the environmental impact of Carbondioxode emissions from international aviation, including the development and implementation of a “basket of measures” to meet the global aspirational goals of a 2%.

It’s upon this background that, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), Director General Fred Bamwesigye says following ICAO’s guidance, they are ready to handle weather extreme conditions like flooding which are a threat to the aviation operations – Amongst the plans is to have an environment desk that will be handling aviation environment issues.

 “We have developed together with environment departments like NEMA, a collaborative relationship to have a desk here and we are moving towards getting a fully-fledged department for it – Our main obligation is to make sure we reduce fuel emissions in the air space, which science has proven to be catalyze for climate change that give way to weather extremes” explained Bamwesigye.

He added that as they carry on different constructions, they are making it a point to have a standard drainage system that will manage to handle floods in times of heavy rains.

UCAA Director General Fred Bamwesigye(Right),Deputy Director General Olive Birungi Lumonya(Middle) and Director Airports and Aviation security Eng.Ayub Sooma(Left) inspecting the ongoing works

Bamwesigye says that, the ongoing construction of the new terminal building has a component for interconnection of the drainage system to accommodate the new developments, and all these pending works are scheduled to be completed this year –   It is also important to note that some of the existing structures at Entebbe International Airport were first put up in the 70s, and more buildings have been added as part of the infrastructure upgrade.

The new terminal under construction is part of a broader expansion project aimed at increasing the airport’s capacity from 2 million to at least 3.5 million passengers annually.

Entebbe International Airport expansion is happening at a time when the airport’s traffic is growing, with the recent figures showing a daily average of over 5,500 international passengers. In March 2024 alone, the airport handled a total of 171,990 international passengers.

Aviation Wildlife protection

Currently UCAA, has effectively handled the Bird Hazard and Wildlife Control measures, with no standing record of an aircraft accident due to birds and other reptiles like monitor lizards that can easily find their way within the airport operations ground owing to the fact that the airport is a peninsular surrounded by a fresh water mass – Lake Victoria and a gazetted Bird Sanctuary that hosts some of the common bird species like; the African fish eagles, Black kites, Marabou storks, Black headed herons, Swallows, Gulls, Terns and Egrets, among others. Being near the equator, the area experiences two rain maxima (April and October). These and other human activities attract both local and migratory bird species – with the latter visiting the peninsula in March and October every year.

Uganda Civil Aviation Spoke’s person Viane Luggya says, they have a dedicated Bird Hazard and Wildlife Control Unit, whose primary task is to proactively ensure safety of aircraft operations, using modern techniques, alongside traditional methods of bird scare and control at airports, in line with the guidelines of international conventions on migration of birds.

Read more on, ICAO Environment policy: https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/pages/adaptation.aspx

ICAO Climate Adaptation Synthesis    https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/Pages/Climate-Adaptation.aspx

About The Author

Diana Kibuuka

Diana Kibuuka is an Environment and Climate Change female journalist from Uganda. She's also running a Climate Change Podcast; Dina;s planet: https://dinasplanet.buzzsprout.com and and Climate change blog;https://africanjournalistsgreenisland.org/

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