NAS ops teams brave lockdown and curfew to ensure critical supply chains stay open


A special bus service is bringing key personnel to Entebbe International Airport to oversee the flow of essential medicines and food into and out of Uganda

A band of 50 ground handling employees at National Aviation Services (NAS) have braved lockdown and curfew to keep essential medicines and foods flowing across Africa from Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

Teams are working alongside the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority to ensure crucial import and export services including Covid-19 testing kits, medical masks and perishables continue.

NAS has chartered a special bus service to bring in the cargo and ramp employees with public transport being suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The operation handles 70 tons of cargo a day. Employees have also helped dispatch around 20 tons of medical kit donated by the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation across Africa to help neighbours in the fight against coronavirus.

Activity is planned on a day to day basis to meet capricious operational demands according to NAS. The station must react to a 12-hour window as most cargo flights are now chartered and not scheduled, NAS reported.

Alongside the essential cargo activity, the station has also handled five evacuation flights departing from the airport with more than 1,000 passengers in total. This included full ground handling and cargo services to Qatar Airways, KLM and Brussels Airlines, NAS reported.

All employees have been provided with mask, gloves and other protective gear. They have also been trained to ensure they follow all the safety measures and working areas and equipment are also cleaned and sanitized, NAS said.

NAS teams in the Ivory Coast and Tanzania are echoing activity in Uganda by stepping up to keep essential supply chain and export services functioning during the pandemic.