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MPs push for the release of Shs440bn for Entebbe Airport expansion

By Melanie Aanyu,

The Parliamentary Committee on Physical Infrastructure wants the government to release Sh440 billion for the second phase of upgrading and expansion of Entebbe International Airport.

The committee Chairperson David Karubanga says the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA has completed close to 80 percent of the first phase of the project which ends December this year.

Karubanga told journalists after touring the airport, that the Finance Ministry needs to commit itself that it will release the funds so that the contractor can commence the second phase early next year.

The second phase involves installing lights for Runway 12/30, building a multi-storeyed car park, extension of the new passenger terminal building by an additional 10,000 square metres on the floor area, and expanding the runways 17/35 and 12/30 to accommodate big carriers with 290-370 seats namely Boeing 77-300 and the Airbus A340-600 among others.

The project is part of the 20- year National Aviation Master Plan ending in 2033, with the aim of enhancing the airport’s capacity to handle increasing passenger numbers and cargo volumes.

The current passenger terminal building has the capacity to handle 410 arriving and 320 departing passengers during peak hours on a daily basis and over one million travelers a year. But by 2033, the airport is projected to handle 6 million passengers and store 172,000 metric tons of cargo annually.

Karubanga says UCAA’s latest report shows that the works in the first phase are at overall physical progress of 79 percent against planned progress of 98 percent expected in January 2022.

Fred Bamwesigye the Director-General of UCAA, says the upgrade and expansion project will only make sense if both phases are implemented without a break due to lack of funding.