Entebbe International Airport

Entebbe International Airport

Museveni who returned on Thursday evening from USA after a 5-day working visit was shocked to see cracks and overgrown vegetation on the runway.

Sources who were at the airport to receive the President told New Vision that he (Museveni) immediately ordered CAA to give him a thorough explanation.

The source further said that the President wondered whether Entebbe was an airstrip or an international airport. He also said the airport posed a security threat to travellers.

By Friday morning, top management at the facility were locked up in a meeting to discuss the status of the airport and were expected to present a report to State House.

Efforts to get an official comment from the CAA spokesperson proved futile. However, a top official confirmed that they were in a meeting to discuss among others the status of the airport.

Last June, then transport minister, Abraham Byandala, presiding over the Civil Aviation Authority?s 20-year master plan consultative meeting, unveiled the proposed new redesign of the Entebbe Airport.

The redesign, among others, proposes an expanded international terminal plus a new domestic passenger terminal and a new cargo area.

It proposes creation of a new aircraft maintenance area, new fuel tanks, new and larger taxi ways and new aircraft aprons.

However, Entebbe International Airport has been constrained by space for expansion. In 2013, the government embarked on gazetting land worth $300m near the airport for procurement and freeze development of storey structures near the runway.

CAA acquired 66 acres of land formerly owned by the agriculture ministry and had planned to acquire more land in the area.

The acquisition of the 66 acres followed a plea by CAA Uganda logged in 2009, requesting to channel the whole 132 acres of the ministry?s idle land for EIA expansion.

The ministry of agriculture however, protested through state minister of animal husbandry state, Bright Rwamirama who complained to President Museveni, saying they needed the land for research purposes, especially for new cow breeds. Government agreed that the institutions share the land.

By Charles Etukuri, The New Vision

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