BY PAUL TENTENA
HOIMA, UGANDA- Though it will come a year late after the promised 2020 first oil drop for Uganda, Hoima International Airport, which is under construction in Hoima District in western Uganda is expected to be ready for full operation by 2021.
The contractors SBC/SBI Llodys British International told the media on a farm trip that they are currently undertaking bush clearing, construction of access roads and fencing off the 29 sq. km that the airport will occupy.
“The runway, measuring 3.5km long and 75m wide, will be provisionally opened in 2020 to allow for the landing of Antonovs and Boeing 777s that will carry the oil refinery fleets and other equipment,” said Mihail Gorachinov the Senior Development Manager SBI.
Hoima International Airport, also known as Kabaale International Airport, is an airport under construction that will be part of the infrastructure under construction as Uganda prepares to develop its nascent oil industry.
When completed, it would be Uganda’s second international airport, besides Entebbe International Airport.
Gorachinov said the airport will facilitate mobilization of equipment for construction of the Uganda Oil Refinery and assist in the development of agriculture and tourism in Uganda’s Western Region.
Hoima Airport is located in Kabaale Parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima District, near the Kaiso-Tonya oil fields and the Uganda Oil Refinery.
It sits on 29 square kilometres (11 sq mi), which is approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi), by road, to the north-west of Hoima Town.
Dr. Micheal Nkambo Mugerwa, the General Manager Uganda National Oil Company who are overseeing the Airport Development works together with the ministry of Works and Transport said the airport would be a large international airport capable of handling large passenger and cargo aircraft, sufficient to carry the equipment and staff to develop the Uganda Oil Refinery and the oilfields.
In January 2018, the UK lenders were identified as Standard Chartered Bank with guarantees from the United Kingdom Export Finance, with the two expected to lend €307 million.
In February 2018, the government of Uganda selected Shikun & Binui, a construction firm based in Israel to construct this airport, at a cost of US$309 million. The construction which will be undertaken by Solel Boneh International Holdings (SBI), the international arm of Shikun & Binui, is expected to last three years.
Gorachinov said the work includes paving 3.5 kilometres (11,000 ft) of runways, carrying out of earthwork and drainage activities, pouring of cement and asphalt, building of electro-mechanical, communications and navigation systems and erection of an air traffic control tower, a cargo terminal, additional residencies and service structures.