Entebbe International Airport, one of Uganda’s key aviation hubs, is on the cusp of a major transformation. The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has unveiled an ambitious plan to expand the airport to international standards, addressing the increasing air traffic demands. However, this grand vision comes with complex challenges, primarily the displacement of Kigungu village residents, setting the stage for intricate negotiations and relocation efforts.
Fred Bamwesigye, UCAA’s Director General, left no room for doubt about the necessity of this expansion.
The airport needs a five-hectare growth to accommodate the growing traffic and meet international standards. As progress marches forward, Members of Parliament are considering a contingency plan in case Kigungu proves too financially challenging, which involves acquiring land in neighboring Buwaya.
Negotiations with the impacted residents are at the very center of the issue.. Bamwesigye has assured careful examination of tenancy arrangements before formulating a compensation and relocation strategy. However, financial constraints loom large, making it necessary for UCAA to seek support from the government.
In the airport’s vicinity, government institutions overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture face bureaucratic challenges in relocating. While well-intentioned, the proposition to move these valuable and costly installations presents real hurdles.
A parliamentary committee led by Tony Awany scrutinized the expansion works and received assurances of timely completion. This is crucial as the airport aims to meet deadlines for upcoming international conferences.
Entebbe Airport has undergone an incredible transition, with the current terminal receiving a rigorous revamp. Technological rejuvenation is a key focus, with outdated facilities being replaced with cutting-edge marvels. The expansion includes office space, opportunities for travelers, and a bustling hub of commerce.
MPs have voiced their desire for upcountry aerodromes, aligning with the National Development Plan III. The expansion plan also emphasizes local businesses thriving within the airport’s embrace, though it acknowledges the challenges they face.
The role of Uganda Airlines Ltd is also in the spotlight, with calls for preferential treatment. However, Bamwesigye navigates the fine line between support and preferential treatment, adhering to international protocols.
The journey of Entebbe Airport, from its inception during the Obote I era to its realization under Idd Amin, has been extraordinary. As the UPDF engineering brigade, with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency, undertakes this momentous task, a new era for Ugandan aviation is on the horizon, showcasing the unwavering spirit propelling the nation forward.