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Exposed: how airport staff is looting from unsuspecting travellers

by Odongo Christopher

Entebbe International Airport Staff who handle Ugandans seeking to travel out of the country, have come under the spotlight after several members of the public accussed them extortion.

According to complaints resulting fro incidents which the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has acknowledged, the biggest victims are first time travellers. At least seven of the numerous complaints seen by info256 came from passengers travelling out of te country after getting kyeyo (Odd Jobs) in foreig countries, whol others came from persons travelling to study abroad.

The complainants accussed airport staff of finding flimsy faults on passangers’ documents before asking them for money to have them cleared, usually ranging between $100 and $300.

“A number of times, airport staff have descended upon unsuspecting travellers, especially those travelling for the first time, and have intimidated them into paying money, lest they miss their flights” said a traveller, who missed a flight because his yellow fever card was due to expire.

The passanger narrated how airport staff asked for $200 to secure for him anotheryellow fever card, but he had no money on him. They then held him until he missed his flight to South Africa, to attend a conference. In another case, a passanger who travelled with only a backpack, got shocked when he found his boarding pass inscribed on 23Kilograms of luggage, yet he had less than 5Kilograms on him. This, according to sources, is a trick that luggage handlers use to transfer excess luggage weight to other passangers with light luggage. “The airport staff then ask the passanger with the excess weight for money to allow the luggage through,” the source revealed.

When this website landed on this extortion story at International Airport, we tried by all means to contact the Civil Aviation Authority Uganda public relations manager Vianney Luggya who confirmed that its true, many extortion complaints against airport staff had been raised and were being thoroughly investigated.

“We would like to assure the public that investigation of this and othr complaints have already commenced,” Luggya said. He urged passangers to immediately report any form of extortion experienced during travel through Entebbe Airport.

“It’s important for the publicto know that while Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) manages and operates Entebbe Airport, there are several other independent providers of key services at the airport, including, customs, but not limited to immigration, customs, handling agents (ENHAS and DAS) and airlines, among others,” Luggya stated.

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