Ongoing infrastructure upgrades and expansion of facilities at Entebbe Airport are nearly complete, a progress experts say is on course with their five-year completion target of 2021.
Some of these upgrades expected to be up and running by end of 2019, will handle the rising traffic with the latest records showing a 10.3 per cent passenger growth at the end of last year.
In an interview with Prosper Magazine, Mr Vianney M. Luggya Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) manager public affairs, said: "The ongoing works are part of CAA's implementation of a 20-year master plan which covers the period from 2014 to 2033. In the first five years of the project, several projects have already been undertaken."
Entebbe International Airport continually needs to accommodate the rapidly increasing passenger volumes, avoid safety breaches, comply with changing regulations, expand capacity for passengers to enjoy a pleasant airport experience.
Latest airport passenger traffic stand at over 1.84m, up from 1.65m recorded in 2017 continued to rise from 1.65 million. This number is projected to reach 7.5m passengers in the next 15 years.
Correspondingly, domestic passenger traffic also recorded a 41.9 per cent growth from 18,824 in 2017 to 26,711 in 2018.
While commercial aircraft movements registered a 10.4 per cent growth with a rise from 29,327 in 2017 to 32,386 aircraft movements in 2018.
"We have modified the departure immigration counters work which was executed by China Nanjing International Limited and their number increased from six to eleven, the queuing space, which was originally 101 square metres, is now 209 square metres," Mr Luggya shared.
Two booths with four counters and another booth with three counters to accommodate a total of 11 immigration officers were successfully installed in August.
Earlier on in 2017, the same contractor modified Arrivals Immigration counters and their number was increased from 14 to 20.
"This has since enhanced efficiency in service provision and drastically reduced on long queues at peak time. In the Arrivals Hall, one of the counters has been specifically dedicated to handling passengers with special needs, crew, business and first class passengers," Mr Luggya added.
According to Mr Luggya, works for rehabilitation and strengthening of the old runway 12/30 which commenced in May last year is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The works are undertaken by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), which is also handling the on-going construction of a new 100,000 tonne cargo centre.
Mr Luggya says they are forecasting more growth in cargo of 172,000 tonnes by 2033.
"At least 80 per cent of works for the new cargo centre's Aircraft Parking Apron have been accomplished, 35 per cent of works for the Cargo Terminal building are complete, and 90 per cent of works for the landside and airside access roads have so far been accomplished," he added.
Air Traffic services management system and Air Traffic Control Radar were upgraded and this led to migration from manual to automated electronic strips. It also extended the ATC Radar's serviceability lifespan by another 10 years.
Air navigation services and automation of Entebbe International Airport by the Korea International Cooperation Agency as part of a $9.5 million (Shs35.6b) grant to Uganda from the Government of South Korea is expected to be complete by end 2019.
Phase two expansion
Expansion works for Aircraft Parking Apron 1 is at 70 per cent and extension works for Taxiway Alpha are at 70 per cent level of completion. Runway 12/30 rehabilitation is at 30 per cent.
Works for modification and expansion of the passenger terminal building are also on-going and are at 30 percent level of completion. They are being undertaken by Seyani Brothers (U) Ltd.
Phase two of the expansion of the long term car parking was completed earlier on and it involved creating additional capacity to park 140 cars to increase the total long-term car parking capacity from 260 to 410 cars.