As of Wednesday morning, the Police Fire Brigade were still battling a raging fire at Entebbe International Airport.
The fire broke out yesterday at a warehouse managed by ground handling service, DAS.
An eyewitness said that the fire ravaged the entire warehouse.
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) confirmed the incident.
“An incident involving a fire outbreak occurred at the DAS Warehouse located in the vicinity of Entebbe International Airport on Tuesday, September 12, 2023,” said UCAA in a statement shortly after midnight.
“ A joint team of fire-fighting services is engaging to contain the blazing fire,” said the authority, adding, “The exact cause of the fire will be investigated.”
UCAA further said DAS “is one of the Ground Handlers operating at the airport with offices adjacent to Protea Hotel, outside the airport’s perimeter fence.”
However, the incident calls for the strengthening of fire and emergency services at the international airport.
In 2021, fire broke out in the airport’s fuel tanks area, sparking panic among travellers and airport workers.
UCAA said then that the staff at the Aviation fuel firm were carrying out routine maintenance on fuel tank 4 to drain out the remaining fuel segments using a diesel-powered pump whose drainage tube disengaged from the pump causing fuel to spill and trigger the fire outbreak.
The fire incident comes just a week after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) dispatched a team of officials to carry out an oversight audit of Entebbe International Airport.
The purpose of the audit is to “assess the level of Uganda’s effective implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices.”
ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation, and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
The ICAO team met President Museveni at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo on Wednesday.
It remains unclear why Works Minister Gen Katumba Wamala led the auditors to meet Museveni before conducting the audit.
Nevertheless, President Museveni welcomed the delegation and assured them that Uganda is open for the audit.
He also emphasised that the “Uganda Civil Aviation Authority team should be ready to learn and improve where necessary.”
The audit will cover the quality of legislation, organisation, licensing, operations, airworthiness, accident investigation, air navigation services and aerodromes.
Gen Katumba said that if the outcome of the audit is positive then it will be to an advantage for the country since it will create trust and confidence in the country’s airspace among stakeholders.
“There will be confidence that our air space is safe to use,” he stated.
Gen. Katumba added that the audit will further unlock more flights for Uganda Airlines to fly to other destinations like the UK which has not allowed the national carrier to fly to their airspace until the audit is done.
“If the audit comes out positive, then it will be a chance to operate in the UK. Not in the UK alone but also in other areas like China, Mumbai, among others,” Gen. Katumba noted.
Donation for Author
Buy author a coffee