ENTEBBE – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced plans to upgrade Arua airport to an international airport.
Arua is the second busiest domestic Airports in the country after Entebbe International Airport, with a monthly average of 180 air traffic movements.
And CAA says it plans to expand the airport to international airport category 4C.
“After we carried out the detailed master plan for the airport, the master plan dictated that some additional land must be acquired to implement the plan and we are actually looking for additional land, which we must secure,” said Mr Samuel Wonekha, the CAA general manager for regional airports, in an interview on Monday.
Category 4C airport, which has field length of 1800 metres and above, can accommodate a plane of wing length of up to 24 metres.
Arua airport currently has a length of 1800m, and officials from the CAA say the master plan for the airport demands that more land be availed to make the airport meet the required specifications.
“Part of this land actually belongs to the former head of state. The CAA is in talks with the family of the late president Idi Amin Dada. They own most of the said land around the airport. We are moving on well with the talks and hope to secure this land very soon,” Mr Wonekha said.
He also said the government is currently soliciting for $56m (Shs209.2b) for the general upgrading of the airport to meet the regional and international standards. He said the major works have been delayed because the government has not secured the required funds.
“The major project in Arua hasn’t yet commenced because the government is still sourcing for the financing of about $56m that will enable us to begin on the actual major project of upgrading the airport in Arua. However, the smaller components of the projects are ongoing but the major works will start when we receive the funding,” he said.
The airport is strategically located in the tri-state border of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. The airfield serves as a hub for passengers from Southern Sudan and DRC to connecting flights through Entebbe International Airport.