CAA stakes Shs20bn in Jinja airstrip refurbishment

CAA stakes Shs20bn in Jinja airstrip refurbishment
Captain Dodd Katendeigwa shows Jinja airstrip blueprint

Eng Benedict Ovura, the principal airport operations officer at CAA. says the project is estimated to cost Shs20 billion.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has embarked on redevelopment of Jinja airstrip infrastructure, starting with tarmacking of the runway and widening the aircraft parking area (apron).

Eng Benedict Ovura, the principal airport operations officer at CAA. says the project is estimated to cost Shs20 billion.

Despite its strategic location, Jinja airfield has been underutilised over the years.

This has been attributed to its current state with a 1.8km by 30m murram runway, which cannot support landing for some aircraft.

This has prompted CAA to redevelop this strategic airstrip in Busoga.

Eng Ovura said they are in the final procurement process to acquire a contractor to take up this project.

"We want to tarmac the taxiway and the apron which shall also be widened," said Ovura.

He added that CAA wanted to extend the length of  the run way from the current 1.8km to 3km but they lack the land space for the extension.

"Due to the surrounding developments around the airstrip, we can't extend further since we are constrained," he said.

The airstrip, a small joint military and civilian facility, is surrounded by UPDF installations, including Senior Command and Staff College Kimaka, Gaddafi Barracks and Amber Court Market.

The airfield is currently utilised by Vine Air Flight Academy.

The Chief Executive of Vine Air Flight Academy, Flight Captain Dodd Katendeigwa, says the current state of the airstrip does not allow all-weather operations.

"When it rains, we stop operations for two hours before we resume to give the runway time to absorb all the water," he said.

Katendeigwa highlighted key infrastructural developments taking place at Jinja airport, including a modern clear view anti-climb air site security fence which has been erected, and a dual carriage way under construction.

Vine Air Flight Academy, which has been managing Jinja airfield for the last seven, years has been pivotal in training pilots at different levels.

At least 11 pilots have received their practicing licence upon completion of their course at Vine Air  flight Academy. Of these, nine acquired private pilots licence and two commercial pilot licence.

Captain Katendeigwa challenged government to step up strategies to sponsor young pilots to upgrade in their profession, saying training to be a pilot is a "very expensive venture which can't be managed by an ordinary parent".

"Training a single pilot requires close to Shs300 million, which is quite high for an ordinary citizen," he said.

The President Uganda Pilots Association, Captain Aziz Ssentamu, said there is a need for more pilots since the sector is still virgin.

"The national carrier (Uganda Airlines) employs 50 pilots but they need 200 so we still have a gap," Capt Ssentamu said.

Reader's Comments

LATEST STORIES

Karuma Bridge: UNRA further diverts trucks in Murchison park
top-stories By Lindah Nduwumwami
3 hours ago
Karuma Bridge: UNRA further diverts trucks in Murchison park
Kalumba is new URA head of corporate affairs
top-stories By Victoria Bagaaya
4 hours ago
Kalumba is new URA head of corporate affairs
Police round up NUP supporters in Kamuli
top-stories By Nile Post Editor
5 hours ago
Police round up NUP supporters in Kamuli