“It was blown out of Proportion” – Civil Aviation Authority Brands COSASE Arua Airfield Probe.
Written by Derrick Asaba on November 9, 2021
Over the weekend, members of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) made a field visit and inspection of the Arua Airfield.
According to the Nakawa West MP, Joel Ssenyonyi, money meant for the upgrade of the Airfield to an Airport was scandalously spent on purchase of items like trolleys and a wire fence.
“COSASE came to Arua to check ongoing works at Arua Airport. 687M was spent on a wire fence! Also, several baggage trolleys and seats were bought and the seats were interlocked. Each single seat before interlocking cost 2.4M and each trolley 2.4M as well. This quite simply doesn’t add up!” Ssenyonyi tweeted.
This, according to the Management of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) blew out of proportion and context on social media. Several twitter users reacted to the tweet with utter discontent.
The Authority has since opposed the claims by COSASE members in a Press Statement noting that some of the issues were misrepresented.
“The supply was for lounge seats configured into 4-seater and 5-seater configuration plus 40 baggage trolleys at a cost of UGX 243386680. Contrary to the wrong impression created that each lounge seat and trolley cost UGX 2400000,”
The statement cleared the fact that each travel trolley costs 1.7M, each of the lounge chairs in the 4-seater and in the 5-seater configuration cost 1.6M and 1.4M respectively.
Also, the CAA Management clarified that the perimeter fence for Arua Airfield is a chain link not wall fence, just like that of Entebbe International Airport.
“The chain-link fence is proffered for safety reasons so that in case of an aircraft accident in the course of landing or take-off, the damage to the aircraft is reduced from what the case would be in case of crushing into a wall fence,” CAA stated.
The authority appealed to all stakeholders to verify facts before misleading the public, noting that it is becoming too common to find inaccurate and distorted claims about airport projects being posted on social media.
About the Airport
Arua is the second busiest domestic airport in the country after Entebbe, with a monthly average of 180 air traffic movements.
Government has attempted to upgrade the Arua Airfield to an international airport since 2009 and was expected to be completed in March 2010.
These plans included a new terminal building for up to 200 passengers and extending (and paving) the runway up to 2.5 kilometres (8,200 ft) to take international narrow body aircraft.
This would allow the airport to serve other destinations apart from domestic routes to Entebbe and become even more attractive for passengers in South Sudan and DRC.
CAA wants to upgrade the airfield to a Category 4C airport, which has a field length of more than 1,800 metres. The category 4C airport can accommodate a plane of wing length of up to 24metres.
These improvements are part of the efforts to improve Arua Airport, Gulu Airport and Kasese Airport to International standards. When these improvements are complete, Uganda will have four international airports including Entebbe.