Construction of Hoima International Airport in progress at Kabaale in Hoima recently.
Completion of the Hoima International Airport in Kabale Parish, Buseruka Sub-county in Hoima District has been extended, according to Eng Ronald Twesigye, the manager in charge of Aerodrome Engineering and Planning at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).
The first construction phase of the airport that began in April 2018 was projected to be complete by 2021. But Twesigye told journalists on Tuesday that work has been extended to February 2023 due to the review in the original designs and the time lost in relocating tombs from the airport construction site.
The drainage channel was among those redesigned taking 10 months to allow it to cure.
“Engineers had to redesign and expand the drainage system for a bigger area and the control tower had to be redesigned from a mobile one to a fixed one. This is why the contractor requested for more time that UCAA granted,” revealed Twesigye.
Speaking during a field visit, Cherf Taha the airport resident engineer attached to Shikun and Binui International (SBI) Colas Ltd, contractors of the airport told a team from UCAA led by Fred Bamwesigye, the deputy director general UCAA that the company has so far completed 34 percent of the construction works.
“We have started laying the sub-base layer on the runway which when complete, will cover 4.5 kilometres long and 45 metres wide with a capacity to accommodate four large cargo aircraft and handling two million passengers a year”, he disclosed.
Eng Ruth Apolot, the head of planning and development at UCAA said the airport will also have a fire fighting station, air traffic control tower, perimeter fence, taxiway, apron, car park, access road and an electrical centre among others.
Apolot who is also the project supervisor for UCAA, dismissed claims that extension of the construction works will affect the oil production schedule. She said everything was considered including the current heavy rains that forced them to halt the works.
Apolot said there are facilities that need to be put in place prior to oil production. She said the airport will also help transport heavy oil refinery equipment to avoid spoiling roads.
The airport is near Lake Albert. The project undertaken by SBI Colas-a French-British firm in partnership with SBC International-an Israeli firm costs 300m Euros ($309m).
Hoima International Airport is financed by UK Export Finance Bank at 85 percent while the government of Uganda has contributed 15 percent.
The infrastructure construction is preparing Uganda to develop its nascent petroleum industry.
If completed, Hoima International Airport will be Uganda’s second international airport after Entebbe designed to support the operation of large aircraft like the AB 124 and Boeing 747-800 including other wide body and medium sized passenger and cargo aircraft.