Uganda is set to commence expansion works on Arua airport to international standards, Mr Samuel Wonekha General Manager of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) made the revelations. Wonekha said that the government is in the process of holding discussions with the family of former president Idi Amin to acquire large chunks of land for the project.
“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,” said Mr Wonekha.
“Part of this land actually belongs to the former head of state. The family of late president Idi Amin own most of the land around the airport. We are moving on well with the talks and hope to secure this land very soon,” he added.
Arua Airport is the second busiest domestic airport in the country after Entebbe, with a monthly average of 180 air traffic movements. Presently, Eagle Air operates scheduled flights with a 19- seater aircraft. Ad hoc and charter flights are also operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship, United Nations, AIM Air, Samaritan Purse and Kampala Aero Club and Flight Training Centre.
Construction is set to begin immediately the land is acquired. CAA wants to upgrade the airfield to Category 4C airport, which has field length of more than 1,800 metres. The category 4C airport can accommodate a plane of wing length of up to 24 metres. Arua airport currently has length of 1,800m, and according to Mr Samuel, the master plan demands that more land be availed to make the airport meet the required specifications.
The government is currently soliciting for US $56m for the general upgrading of the airport to meet the regional and international standards. Mr. Wonekha explained the major works have been delayed because government has not secured the required funds.
“Government is still sourcing for financing 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,” said Mr Wonekha.