UGANDA (eTN) – The decision, under the pretext of security, to ban drop offs of passengers and baggage at the departure (upper) level of the Entebbe International Airport, has prompted angry exchanges between passengers and security operatives and letters to the editors of local media.
Departing passengers are now required to use the main car park, chaotic by all appearances during the rush hours when several flights arrive and depart almost at once, and they have to brave heavy downpours or stinging sunshine while seeking trolleys and then push their baggage towards the upper departure levels. Elevator space proved totally insufficient for the purpose and when reaching staircases, passengers who are alone and travel with, for instance two suitcases and hand baggage, have been observed to have to leave bags at the bottom of stairs, make it half way up, then return to fetch the balance of their bags, before they reach the upper level, hoping that none of their belongings disappear en route.
Acid comments were heard about the arrangements, which according to one passenger this correspondent spoke with during a recent visit to the airport, were “pulled out of somewhere by someone trying to justify his or her existence” without giving any consideration to passenger needs, the logistics of reaching the terminal. or taking into account weather conditions.
Business owners at the airport have also complained that their revenues were suffering because of ever more stringent measures, which are in effect keeping casual visitors away from the airport, while passengers, losing much time on the way to make their check in, also had less opportunity to spend money on food, drinks, and last-minute souvenirs, while rushing to their departure gates.
A statement released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) pointed out that disabled passengers would be allowed access to the upper departure level by car, but failed to mention the hardship and hassle one has to go through to achieve this, while not making any materially valuable comments about the challenges passengers now have to navigate the hurdles before reaching the terminal.