By Joel Ogwang
In a bid to expand Entebbe International Airport (EIA), the government has embarked on gazetting land worth $300m near the airport for procurement and freeze development of storey structures near the runway.
Whilst Civil Aviation Agency Uganda (CAA Uganda) acquired 66 acres of land formerly owned by the agriculture ministry, acquisition of more land for expansion is still on card in line with its 20-year Civil Aviation Master-plan (CAM), said transport state minister, Stephen Chebrot.
The acquisition of the 66 acres followed a plea CAA Uganda logged to President Yoweri Museveni in 2009, requesting to channel the whole 132 acres of the ministry’s idle land for EIA expansion.
An aeroplane refuels at EIA. CAA is in the process of procuring more land for the airport expansion
“The President allowed CAA Uganda to utilise the land, but (Bright) Rwamirama (animal husbandry state minister) complained (to Museveni), saying they needed the land for research purposes, especially for new cow breeds,” Chebrot told New Vision in an interview.
“He (Museveni) agreed that CAA Uganda and the ministry share the land. CAAU continued engaging the ministry to surrender the whole land because there is no reason for keeping cows near the airport as they would attract birds that may cause accidents, but they refused to give up.”
However, comparing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that owns 6,000 ha following the acquisition of 2,000 ha near the national park and Julius Nyerere International Airport’s 4,000 ha, Chebrot noted that even with the 66 acres now under its control, CAA Uganda is constrained by space for expansion,.
“I have directed CAA-U to gazette land near the airport for future expansion. “I have also written to private land owners (near EIA), including the islands across the airport, to allow CAA-U buy their land. This would follow the normal procurement process,” he said.
Passengers disembark a 100-seater Air Uganda aeroplane. CAA plans to procure more land to expand
EIA under a 20-year master-plan
Under the expansion master plan, the government will invest $300m to expand EIA in order to boast Uganda’s tourism sector currently averaging 21% annual growth and contributing 24% of the total foreign exchange earnings as well as attract new investments following the discovery of about 3.5billion barrels of oil.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), an umbrella organisation of 134 Civil Aviation Authority (CAAs), CAA Uganda inclusive, procured a consultant to undertake a six- month’s feasibility study expected to be ready by December 2013.