Entebbe International Airport is the principal international airport of Uganda. It is located near the town of Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and about 35 km (21 miles) from the capital, Kampala. The main offices of the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda are located at the airport.
The airport was first constructed in 1928/1929: the first aircraft to use the new airfield were RAF Fairey IIIs of the Cairo-Cape flight which landed on the 900 yards (820 m) grass runway on 17 February 1929. In January 1932 Imperial Airways began to use Entebbe on their Cape-to-Cairo mail services: at this stage, radio was installed. By 1935, the grass runway surfaces had been replaced by murram.
In 1944-45 the main runway (12/30) was asphalted and extended to 1,600 yards (1,500 m).
On 10 November 1951 the airport was formally re-opened after the facilities had been extended further: runway 12/30 was now 3,300 yards (3,000 m), in preparation for services by the de Havilland Comet. Finally, the existing control tower of the “old airport” was constructed in 1957/58.
The current passenger terminal building was constructed in the mid to late 1970s, together with runway 17/35: the old runway 12/30 was shortened to its current length. The Old Entebbe airport is now used by Uganda’s military forces and was the scene of a hostage rescue operation by Israeli Sayeret Matkal, dubbed Operation Entebbe, in 1976, after an Arab-German hijacking of Air France Flight 139 out of Tel Aviv.
The scene of that particular rescue was “the old airport”, which was recently demolished except for its control tower. In late 2007, a domestic terminal was constructed at the site of the old airport, leaving the “new airport” to handle International flights exclusively. Entebbe International Airport served 720,000 International passengers in 2007.. The unofficial figure of arrivals in 2008 is estimated at 850,000 .