Kampala — Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has embarked an ambitious expansion programme that will see the elevation of two aerodromes into International Airports.
According to Mr. Ignie Igunduura, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Public Relations Manager told the East African Business Week that the master plan studies and engineering designs for the development of the Gulu and Kasese aerodromes into International Airports have been completed.
"The master plan studies' report has already been submitted to government but they (aerodromes) are going to be developed in phases because it wouldn't be easy to do all of them at a go," Igunduura said.
The development of the Gulu (Northern Uganda) and Kasese (Western Uganda) aerodromes into Airports would inevitably help Entebbe International Airport, Uganda's only airport with the overwhelming traffic numbers that have over the years increased rapidly. In July, Entebbe Airport received the 2012 Routes Africa Marketing Accolade for managing to attract the largest number of reputable airlines but the Airport is finding it difficult to manage the ever growing traffic.
According to Mr. David Mpango Kakuba, the Deputy Managing Director of CAA, "Air passenger traffic at Entebbe is steadily growing, currently at 1.2 million per year compared to three years ago when it was only 500,000 passengers."
According to sources, it is expected that the United Nations base near the airport will have close to 6,000 personnel, coupled with the onset of oil drilling; the country is expected to experience increased activity at Entebbe Airport. If the expansion process of the airport is not fast tracked, the numbers could overwhelm the authorities.
The Uganda Revenue Authority's (URA) customs department has also asked the authorities to provide the Cargo section with an independent area away from the current location so as to minimize loopholes during loading and offloading of cargo.
With the construction of two new airports, pressure would ease from Entebbe and passengers would be able to fly directly to and from these areas.
According to Igunduura, the development of the two aerodromes would cost an estimated $240m and that there were negotiations between government and a Chinese company to fund the projects.
The CAA currently manages 13 aerodromes as well as the Entebbe Airport but there are other privately owned airfields. Igunduura also added that the Arua Aerodrome (West Nile) is undergoing expansion and that CAA was working on acquiring more landfor access roads, apron for air planes.