he Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-CAA has said the first phase of expanding Entebbe International Airport is currently at 60 percent level of completion.
Uganda secured a loan of $325 million from Exim Bank of China, with $ 200 million earmarked to finance the first phase of the airport expansion project.
The first phase began in 2014 and is expected to end in 2021 while the last phase will end in 2023. The entire project will cost shillings 1.1 trillion.
Key elements in the first phase include the construction of a new cargo centre, airside and landside access roads. The project also involves re-surfacing runways, taxiways and strengthening and expanding the aircraft parking apron.
The CAA acting Chief Executive Officer and Director-General, Prof David Katuba told Members of Parliament on the Physical Infrastructure Committee that the new cargo centre is expected to handle cargo volumes of 100,000 tonnes. It will among others house cooling facilities, auxiliary business outlets and also have a freight forwarders parlour.
By end of 2019/2020, CAA is supposed to ensure works are at 100 percent completion level for the new cargo commercial centre, rehabilitation works for Apron 2, resurfacing works for runway 17/35 and its associated taxiways and reconstruction works for Apron 4.
Entebbe Airport currently handles on average 70,000 tonnes every year, up from 6,600 metric tonnes in 1991.
It is projected that the cargo volumes will increase to 172,000 tonnes by 2033. However, the cargo centre was initially expected to be completed by end of 2018.
The expansion project is driven by the rising number of passengers handled at Entebbe and also the need to improve customer experience, safety, security and comply with regulations.
The chairperson Committee on Physical Infrastructure, Robert Ssekitoleeko asked Katuba and CAA officials to submit a detailed progress report on the expansion project and also highlight areas that need the intervention of parliament, especially financial support.
Katuba is expected to submit the report next week.