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UCAA conducts mock bomb threat drill at Entebbe Airport

Drills at Entebbe airport. FILE PHOTO

Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) on Thursday conducted a full-scale exercise to test the staff’s readiness to respond to a bomb threat at Entebbe International Airport.

The exercise simulated a situation involving flight No. AF 347, with 40 passengers and three crew members on board. The flight notified Air Traffic Control of a bomb threat note discovered by a member of the crew in the aircraft lavatories, as the aircraft was taxiing for take-off.

Airline operators, ground handling agents, joint security operatives, United Nations, UCAA staff, health personnel, and other government agencies, were notified and involved in accordance with a contingency plan.  A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was also issued to operators of commercial flights in and out of Entebbe alerting them about the exercise from 2:00-4:00 pm.

The exercise was last conducted in November 2019.

Addressing journalists at the close of the exercise, UCAA Director General Fred Bamwesigye said the exercise is a requirement for all International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member countries to test readiness to respond in case of a real incident.

Bamwesigye also said that apart from testing readiness, it also acted as a learning exercise where a post-exercise evaluation would look at the gaps for all affected staff to improve their performance.

Last month the ICAO evaluation team visited Uganda and concluded an audit in which the country’s aviation system was scored at 72.17%, indicating overall improvement in safety, according to the government.  The mark was above the African average of 55.66% and the global average of 67.68%.

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