Uganda is to get four new international airports, according to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s 20 year strategic plan launched early this year. The airports are planned to be located in Arua, Kasese, Hoima and Pakuba. Currently, Uganda has only one international airport at Entebbe.
Under the Civil Aviation Master Plan 2034 Entebbe International Airport will as well be revamped into a magnificent international facility. Although Uganda has several airstrips around the country, they remain largely dilapidated or underdeveloped and therefore underused.
By developing the aviation infrastructure sector, the government hopes to spur and therefore benefit the country’s agriculture, oil, tourism sectors among others.
The CAA Managing Director, Dr. Rama Makuza said that the plans are intended to inform the growth process and the expansion of the aviation sector in the country in the next 20 years. ”It will reduce congestion of traffic at the airport and boost revenue collection as more goods will be entering the country through these airports,” he said.
The proposed national airports plan will cost Ushs 1.2 trillion (US$ 400 million) in the next 20 years.
In 2014, traffic to Uganda rose to over 1.4 million passengers, the country’s main airport, Entebbe International, has been reaching capacity limits during peak periods.
These developments are of particular significance considering that Uganda has a number of upcountry airports and aerodromes, including airstrips in national parks like Murchisons Falls and Kidepo Valley, which are owned and operated by the CAA that are not often talked about. Besides, other airstrips already exist in places like Soroti (also location of the East African Flying Schoo), Gulu, Arua, Kasese or Kisoro.
If the development of new international airport plans is executed, aviation services in Uganda will see for the very first time a spread of services across the country. A person travelling from Europe to Kotido in the north east of the country, for example, will not have to go through Kampala to Entebbe as they will be able to jet directly to Gulu or Arua, from where it will be shorter to connect to their destination by road.