UGANDA, Hoima | Real Muloodi News | The contractors of Uganda’s second international airport, Kabaale International Airport also known as Hoima Oil City International Airport, have disclosed that the airport is due for completion nine months from now.
SBC Uganda Ltd is in charge of the construction work, and it began in 2018.
The airport is 200 kilometres by air from Entebbe International Airport, and 33 kilometres by road from Hoima City.
With the anticipated completion of the airport, the demand for land in the already booming oil city and it’s surrounding areas is expected to continue to grow.
The most immediate objective of the Hoima Oil City International Airport is to transport shipped-in equipment for the construction of oil processing and transportation projects.
The airport is designed to handle the largest cargo planes in the industry, currently, and according to SBC, the apron can host four of such aircraft at once.
The first phase was due to end in April 2022, which would be able to handle cargo planes.
In addition to the onset of COVID 19, which slowed down work, it was discovered that there were other issues, including the terrain and other factors. According to SBC Uganda Ltd, these delay factors had not been anticipated during the contract awarding process.
However, Amos Muriisa, the spokesperson of SBC Uganda Ltd, says that the project will be completed by February 2023.
The government set the new deadline through the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, PAU.
The completion of the first phase of the project is expected to pave way for the importation of the heavy equipment, materials and machinery by the oil and gas companies, which are in the initial stages of developing their projects.
These include; field flow pipelines, feeder pipelines, the central processing facilities in the fields and at Kabaale Industrial park, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and later the refinery and equipment for related industries expected to be born out of the oil industry.
The second phase will then include an expanded passenger terminal, which will boost tourism and activities that will lead to bigger passenger numbers.
The construction of the runway, which is 3.5 km long and 45 meters wide, is 95 per cent complete.
The cargo terminal building, the limited capacity passenger terminal building, the air rescue five fighting houses, and the air-ground lighting system are all-around 78 per cent complete.
According to Muriisa, the construction for housing airport operators and the start and finish of the control tower shall also be done in the next nine months.
However, there is fear for hundreds of Ugandans, including several locals from surrounding communities, who will soon lose employment when the project is completed.
Muriisa also adds that those who will be laid off are being advised to adjust so that they are taken up by other construction projects expected in the area.
The oil and gas processing facilities, the EACOP, the refinery and the airport, are expected to create new jobs, which will help the laid-off workers have other employment opportunities.
After four years of participating in the airport construction project, the workers have developed enough capacity to take up opportunities in other projects, private or government-owned.
At the start of the project, SBC Uganda Ltd was accused of employing more foreigners and Ugandans from outside the Albertine region, which allegedly was a violation of the National and Local Content.
However, Muriisa defends SBC by saying that it was hard to find people from the local communities who had the specific skills required by the magnitude and complexity of the work.
He says that with help from technical training institutes in the area, many had their skills upgraded and were employed.
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