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Uganda aviation plan needs $400m

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KAMPALA, Uganda – Four new international airports will be constructed in Uganda within the next 20 years with an aim to boost the growth of tourism, air travel and the industrial sector.

According to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the 20 year Aviation Master Plan (2014-2034) launched last week, will see international airports set up in Arua (West Nile), Pakuba in Murchison Falls National Park, Kabaale oil region in Hoima and Kasese in Western Uganda.

The Master Plan that was carried out by Spanish Consultants MS INECO will cost about $400 million. This will include the $200million earmarked for the renovation of Entebbe International Airport with the construction of two more terminal buildings, cargo handling facility, re-tarmacking of the runways and putting self-service check in counters.

Dr. Rama Makuza, the CAA Managing Director said with the expected 7.5% growth in air transport, the country cannot wait to be caught off guard by the growing numbers.

He said they expect about 7.6 million passengers to use the different airport facilities by 2034. Currently, Entebbe Airport handles two million passengers with capacity to land a Boeing 747/400.

Makuza said Arua International Airport will be fitted with all the necessary requirements to land an Airbus A380. Apart from the Entebbe Expansion project, where the government will solicit and fully fund it, the four new international airports will be developed under a Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Pablo Fuente Garcia the MS INECO Technical Manager, who drew the master plan said things like relocation of the control tower, construction a shopping centre and acquisition of more land in the Kigungu neighborhood for Entebbe International Airport Expansion did not surface in the final Master Plan.

“Gulu, Soroti and Kotido will be developed as regional airports for domestic air travel to support scheduled commercial airline service,” said Makuza.

Regional airports usually support scheduled commercial airline services in addition to a full range of general aviation service. It can also include international charter flights particularly if it is placed in a tourism destination.

Airports in Kisoro, Mbarara, Jinja, Tororo, Soroti and Lira will be worked on to support twin and single engine aircrafts. They will boost local air transport needs and special use aviation activities.

The CAA Board Chairman Eng. Ndawula Kaweesi said the discovery of huge commercial oil deposits  is a catalyst for the growth of the sub-sector.

Eng. Abraham Byandala, Uganda’s Transport Minister said the recent adoption of Vision 2040 of transforming the Ugandan society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country is the precursor for the growth aspirations.

“My ministry has also developed a National Multi modal Transport Master Plan to ensure adaptability of the various transport modes including air transport. The National Aviation Master Plan is therefore timely and in spirit with both the National and the sector planning processes,” Byandala said.

By Paul Tentena

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