British Airways has advised Uganda to expand its aviation infrastructure if it is to measure up to the standards of other international airports. Not only will the expansion of the airport bring in more revenue in terms of increased freight and passenger numbers, the expansion of the airport will support a wide range of direct flight destinations at high frequencies.
“Expanding the airport will help Uganda compete for business investments which will in turn produce economic benefits for the country,” advised George Mawadri the British Airways East and Central Africa Commercial Manager.
Projections show that the East African market is growing fast with a potential of becoming the biggest cargo market in Africa, where British Airways alone is taking out 126 tones weekly. Statistics since 2011 show that the busiest airports in Africa are 16 out of the 54 states on the continent and in East Africa alone Jomo Kenyatta is among the top 10 busiest airports in eastern and central Africa .
The advice to Uganda comes as the EA region experiences the fastest economic growth ever. Over the last 5 years the aviation market has been growing rapidly in Africa at a rate of 6 % which may render the destination hubs of no use if the infrastructure is continuously ignored.
Speaking recently to Ugandan and Kenyan media in a briefing at the British Airways head offices in London at Waterside, Mawadri said, “Nairobi which is currently the 12th largest city in Africa is taking steps in expanding Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenya grows a lot of flowers, tea and fruits which are exported to bring in revenue in to the country. When the airport is finally rehabilitated, more airlines will be attracted to land there something Uganda should learn from.”
He added, “If Uganda embarks on expanding Entebbe International Airport, procedures such as check-in, clearance and flight connections will be managed easily which will provide customers with better punctuality and faster baggage clearance. It will also consequently attract more business and investors.”
East Africa looks greener and more promising with future prospects especially with multinational companies setting up base in the region following the discovery of minerals deposits, gas and Oil.
Companies like Pepsi co., IBM, Google, Coca-Cola, and Bharti/Airtel which have set up base in Nairobi will bring about increased investment and expansion of businesses which lead to increased demand of more routes for the industry.