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Uganda resumes commercial flights after seven-month suspension

KAMPALA, (The Southern African Times) — Uganda on Thursday resumed scheduled commercial passenger flights after seven months of government suspensions over COVID-19 pandemic.

Vianney Luggya, communications officer of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, told Xinhua by telephone that the phased flight operations at Entebbe International Airport, about 40 km south of the capital Kampala, resumed after the government eased COVID-19 restrictions on aviation.

He said the first passenger flight to arrive at Entebbe airport was Turkish Airlines, which landed at 3:55 a.m. and departed at 4:50 a.m. local time.

“The flights have resumed today. We expect about 12 flights today. In this first phase, October to December, we are going to have an average of one flight per airline per day to reduce congestion,” said Luggya.

The resumption of commercial flights came after President Yoweri Museveni last week directed the reopening of the international airport and land borders, which were closed when the pandemic broke out in the country in March.

“In these three months, our operations will be scaled down. Then for the next six months we will increase on the operations but still not entirely full,” said Luggya.

“We shall continuously review the situation as it is on the ground. The flights will be increased depending on the reviews,” he said.

Uganda’s cabinet on Monday approved strict COVID-19 measures for airlines and passengers ahead of the reopening, directing airlines to ensure that all travelers provide a negative test result for COVID-19 72 hours before arrival in Uganda.

The outbound passengers are required to arrive at the airport at least four hours before the flight, with an authentic COVID-19 test certificate issued within 120 hours before travel, and comply with COVID-19 measures, including hand sanitizing, wearing face masks and maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters in the terminals.

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