KAMPALA – The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has urged Parliament to approve their request to have more public land allocated to them to facilitate future expansion.
The UCAA Deputy Director-General, Mr Fred Bamwesigye, told MPs on Physical Infrastructure Committee during a tour of the ongoing upgrade and expansion works of Entebbe International Airport that to compliment the expanded airport facilities, there will be need for an Aviation Training School and a holding center for animals being transited through Entebbe-either as exports or imports transported via air.
Mr Bamwesigye disclosed that the UCAA top management has already written to the relevant government agencies communicating their need for more land. He said they are having their eyes on the 60 acres of Ministry of Agriculture prime land adjacent to the airport that is currently being used to house the Animal Genetic Resources Center and Data Bank.
Committee chairman Kafeero Sekitoleko (Nakifuma) urged the UCAA management to formally write to them as a committee justifying their request for more land.
The MPs were unanimous that, given the plans to construct more required infrastructure, the UCAA bid to be allocated the NAGRIC land is in order.
Entebbe airport currently sits on one square mile of land which Mr Bamwesigye says is increasingly proving inadequate as the ongoing two-phased upgrade and expansion works near completion. In fact, ahead of the ongoing works, government still encroached on MAAIF/NAGRIC land to ensure CAA had more.
The ongoing expansion works, whose first phase ends in 2020, will enable Entebbe to have a combined capacity to handle or transit over 3.5m passengers a year. Currently it’s at 1.84m if UCAA’s figures for last year are anything to go by.
UCAA management says the expansion and upgrade works are now at 56% and the entire project cost is $200m which is a loan from China. As part of the upgrade and expansion works, UCAA is focusing on delivering a new cargo center capable of storing 100,000 tons of goods up from the current facility that holds only 59,000 tons at a time.
The $200m project also covers the upgrading of the runways, taxiways, commercial center, aircraft parking aprons, water tanks, the terminal building, fuel hydrant lines and the fuel farm. UCAA DG David Kakuba says the cargo complex is 80% completed.