By Emmanuel Iruobe
VENTURES AFRICA – Last week, Uganda released a new 20-year Aviation Master Plan (2014-2034), the execution of which should see the construction of four new international airports all aimed at boosting tourism development, air travel and the entire industrial sector.
According to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Aviation Master Plan should set up international airports in Arua (West Nile), Pakuba in Murchison Falls National Park, Kabaale oil region in Hoima and Kasese in Western Uganda.
Formulated by Spanish Consultants MS INECO, executing the plan will cost about $400 million. This figure comprises the $200 million earmarked for the renovation of Entebbe International Airport with the construction of two more terminal buildings, cargo handling facility, re-tarmacking of the runways and installation of self-service check in counters.
Dr. Rama Makuza, the CAA Managing Director justified the plan citing the expected 7.5 percent growth in air transport saying the country cannot afford to be caught off guard by the growing numbers. According to him, some 7.6 million passengers are projected to use the different airport facilities by 2034. Currently, Entebbe Airport handles two million passengers with capacity to land a Boeing 747/400.
Makuza further revealed that the Arua International Airport will be fitted with all the necessary requirements to land an Airbus A380. Apart from the Entebbe Expansion project, which the government will solicit and fully fund, the four new international airports will be developed under a Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Beyond the projected increase in passenger traffic however, the discovery of huge commercial oil deposits is another catalyst for the growth of the sub-sector.
Abraham Byandala, Uganda’s Transport Minister, believes the recent adoption of Vision 2040 of transforming the Ugandan society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country is the precursor for the growth aspirations.
“My ministry has also developed a National Multi modal Transport Master Plan to ensure adaptability of the various transport modes including air transport. The National Aviation Master Plan is therefore timely and in spirit with both the National and the sector planning processes,” he said.