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East African Community States to Promot Regional tourism

Monday, 7th March 2011

THE Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is upgrading Masindi, Kisoro, Arua and Kasese airports to improve air transport, boost tourism and trade in the region.

CAA spokesperson, Ignatius Igundura, said last week the East African Community member states were creating a regional network of airports aimed at marketing tourism as a single market.

The East African Legislative Assembly committee on agriculture, tourism and natural resources briefed the stakeholders in Kampala about the developments.

The committee led by Mike Sebalu was assessing the progress made in implementing EAC projects and programmes in the tourism sector.

Igundura said Arua would get a big passenger terminal with a capacity of 200 passengers, while the runaway will be tarmacked.

He said parking space would be expanded, while a new taxiway and new staff quarters would be developed.

“We are buying more land to undertake these projects,” he said.

He noted that the Kasese Airport would be upgraded to international level. The runway, he pointed out, would be lengthened from 1,750 metres to 2,500, while its width would be expanded from 30 metres to 45. It will also be tarmacked.

Kasese, he added, would also get air navigation and communication equipment, runway landing lights, cargo warehouses, a new passenger terminal building, and its fire fighting services upgraded.

“We paid sh1.5b for all the land we need to upgrade the airport. We are at design engineering level,” Igundura said.

He disclosed that the Kasese project would cost sh40b.

He noted that studies carried out showed that Kasese had potential for agriculture and mining.

These were the driving forces to have the airport upgraded so that tourists could fly directly there, Igundura disclosed.

He said CAA was interesting the private sector to operate the Masindi Airport, while in Kisoro, the passenger terminal had been expanded.

Igundura, however, pointed out that they might not be able to expand the runway due to Kisoro’s poor terrain.

All the projects would be funded by the Government, Igundura added.

By Joyce Namutebi: The New Vision Newspaper

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