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Entebbe Airport Expansion Plan Involves Displacing Kigungu Village Residents

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Entebbe Airport Expansion Plan Involves Displacing Kigungu Village Residents
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The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has unveiled plans to displace residents of Kigungu village to make way for the extensive development and expansion of Entebbe airport.

This proposal was presented by UCAA officials during a site visit and discussion with members of the parliamentary committee on works and infrastructure. UCAA Director General Fred Bamwesigye revealed to MPs that over time, individuals had settled and developed properties on land owned by the airport.

Currently occupying 1.5 hectares, the airport, to meet future international standards, would require an expanse of five hectares. However, acquiring this additional land would potentially involve relocating the residents of Kigungu.

Some MPs suggested expanding the airport by procuring land across the water strip in neighboring Buwaya if moving the settled residents in Kigungu proved to be costly. As air traffic through Entebbe grows, the airport is contemplating the development of a third runway.

Discussions are ongoing with the affected residents to ascertain their tenancy status before determining the land’s value for compensation and relocation. Yet, UCAA faces financial constraints for compensation and looks to the government for a resolution.

Expansion works have already affected neighboring government institutions under the Ministry of Agriculture. Proposals to relocate these institutions, including the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre (NAGRIC), face significant challenges due to the expense of relocating established installations.

The parliamentary committee, led by Vice Chairman Tony Awany, visited the site to evaluate the progress and costs of the ongoing refurbishment and expansion works. The current passenger terminal is undergoing renovation to meet global standards, with two extensions being constructed to amalgamate into a single development interconnected by bridges.

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Initiated in 1967 and completed in 1972 during different regimes, the airport’s construction is presently undertaken by the UPDF engineering brigade with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Efforts are aimed at completing the refurbishment and expansion before major events, including the Pan African Parliamentary Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) scheduled for the coming year.

Updates on the modernization plan include improved access for motorists directly into the terminal, expanded office spaces, facilities for relaxation, and an increase in commercial areas such as shops and restaurants.

The MPs additionally urged UCAA to focus on developing upcountry aerodromes to facilitate inland transport and tourism. UCAA Director General Bamwesigye highlighted ongoing plans to increase active aerodromes from five to 13, aligning with the National Development Plan III.

Suggestions were made by MPs for increased business opportunities for local Ugandans at the airport. UCAA management indicated prior attempts, but highlighted the challenge of sustaining local businesses post-establishment.

Regarding Uganda Airlines Ltd, MP James Kaberuka sought preferential treatment, to which Bamwesigye explained the limitations imposed by international regulations preventing overt favoritism towards specific aviation entities.

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