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Has Entebbe Airport been surrendered to China, renamed HUEN?

Social media has been awash with reports that Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport has been renamed HUEN.

FILE: Entebbe International Airport

When you google ‘HUEN airport’ , the first-hand result you get is Entebbe International Airport.

This has prompted some citizens to claim that the country’s only Airport has been sold to China. HUEN sounds more of a Chinese word.

The reports come months after allegations that Uganda was set to lose its only International Airport to China over a loan of US$ 200m acquired for the expansion of the Airport in 2015.

However, the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka on 1 December, 2021, told Parliament that Uganda is able to fulfill its duties and contractual obligations in the US$ 200m Entebbe Airport Agreement between the Government and the Export-Import Bank of China.

Kiryowa further assured Ugandans that no one can ever takeover the Airport.

Meanwhile, Ugandans should also worry less as far as the ‘name’ HUEN is concerned.

The regulators of the aviation industry – ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and IATA (International Air Transportation Association) identify airports and airlines by their assigned codes.

The ICAO code for Entebbe Airport is HUEN while the IATA code is EBB.

According to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, H stands for Region in which the airport is located, U stands for Country in which the airport is located (Uganda) and EN- Represents the exact location of the airport (Entebbe).

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What is ICAO?

The ICAO airport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.

ICAO codes are also used to identify other aviation facilities such as weather stations, international flight service stations or area control centres, whether or not they are located at airports. Flight information regions are also identified by a unique ICAO code.

By Gen. Frank L'Oyet

A Ugandan Media Proprietor, Software Engineer, Creative Technologist and Investigative Journalist