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Govt secures land to upgrade Arua Airfield into International Airport

Kampala, (UG):- The government of the Republic of Uganda is in the final preparations to commence the reconstruction of Arua Airfield into an International Airport, a move aimed at bolstering tourism activity in the West Nile Region.

The exciting development was announced by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority( CAA), Fred Bamwesigye who was on a site inspection tour together with officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport led by State Minister for Transport, Fred Byamukama.

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The CAA boss revealed that the delegation had gone to inspect the land the organisation he leads had secured for the development of Arua Airport into an International Airport.

Mr Bamwesigye further revealed that a Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed between the government and East of Eden under the Private Public Partnership framework to undertake feasibility studies and related assessments.

“I was pleased to host the Minister of State for Transport, Hon [Fred] Byamukama, the Director of Transport Ministry of Works and Transport to inspect the land CAA acquired for the development of Arua Airport into an International Airport,” the DG revealed, before adding that;

“Hon Byamukama revealed that an investor- East of Eden, had expressed interest in partnering with the government of Uganda to invest in Arua Airport. Under a PPP framework, the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct feasibility studies and related assessments.”

Transport State Minister, Mr Fred Byamukama used the occasion to reveal that an investor to partner with the government for the project has already been secured.

Arua Airport’s strategic location makes Arua Airport an important centre for passenger and cargo air traffic between Uganda and its two neighbours, the DRC and South Sudan. It is the second-busiest airport in Uganda, after Entebbe International Airport.

In July 2009, the Civil Aviation Authority, which owns and operates Arua Airport, publicly announced that it had started to upgrade the airport to international standards.

Plans included a modern airport terminal with capacity for 200 passengers, paving the runway, widening it to 45 metres (148 ft), and extending it to 2.5 kilometres (8,200 ft). However, these plans have stalled since 2009 because of a compensation dispute with local landowners.

These improvements are part of efforts to improve Arua Airport, Gulu Airport, and Kasese Airport to international standards. When these improvements are complete, Uganda will have five international airports, including the only preexisting international airport at Entebbe and the Kabalega International Airport currently being constructed.

Arua Airport is one of twelve upcountry airports administered by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. It is also one of five upcountry airports authorized to handle cross-border air traffic from neighbouring countries to promote tourism within East Africa.

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