The ongoing construction works aimed at expanding facilities at Entebbe International Airport are proving to be a boon for the local economy after it was revealed that 90 percent of the construction materials being used are sourced locally.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials told journalists during a media tour of the works recently that up to 90% of all essential construction materials are supplied by Ugandan companies.
These include all steel products, sand, all types of stones including aggregates and all the food that is eaten by the workers.
The use of locally-sourced materials is being aided by the recent installation of a high-tech laboratory operated by the supervising engineering firm Dar Al-Handasah.
Dar Al – Handsah Shair and partners are scrutinizing the designs prepared by the design and build contractor, rendering clarifications and supervising the construction works to ensure timely completion of the works, quality and compliance with the design specifications. Before the consultant came on board, the project was supervised by a panel of experts comprising of engineers and architects form the ministry of works and transport and CAA.
Journalists were told that all materials are subjected to rigorous tests before they are accepted and used.
The revelations put to shame claims by other companies involved in the building of critical infrastructure such as the Karuma Hydro Electric power dam that Uganda cannot supply quality materials.
The failure mostly by Chinese construction firms to use locally available raw materials was a source of complaints by local manufacturers last year who blamed the economic downturn on the excessive flow of resources to foreign suppliers of raw materials.
Whereas the bulk of the work is still to come in the months and years to come, CAA officials along with the main contractors China Civil Construction Company (CCCC) reiterated their commitment to source locally.
The five year expansion project will include the development of a 100,000 ton capacity cargo centre, expansion of the terminal building and the parking space, construction of a road connecting the cargo centre to the terminal building, strengthening of runways among other projects.
China for project
Dr. David Mpango Kakuba, the Acting CAA Managing Director further told journalists that the authority has so far spent Ushs90b of the Ushs721bn loan to achieve an estimate 22% progress overall.
Construction of the cargo centre near Kigungu at the site of the former Ministry of Agriculture farm took priority. Removal of earth has so far been completed and the Chinese company is currently building the road linking the cargo centre to the terminal building.
The ongoing expansion project is part of CAA’s 20-year National Civil Aviation Master plan that seeks to revamp the airline industry by upgrading Entebbe and several other aerodromes into full functioning airports. Current works are expected to be completed by May 2021.
CCCC executive Ding Jianming expressed satisfaction with progress of the project. He said that the project employs more than 300 Ugandans.
CCCC was contracted to develop the cargo centre, airside and landside access roads, and Air-craft Parking aprons at Entebbe airport while Seyani Brothers was contracted to build the new arrivals and departure lounges as well as remodelling the terminal building.
When completed, Dr Kakuba, noted that new Entebbe International Airport will be able to handle more than twice the current number of passengers at peak time. Dr. Kakuba pointed out that Entebbe can handle up 410 arriving passengers at the same compared to 360 departing passengers.
By 2033, It is expected that Entebbe will be able to handle 930 arriving passengers and 820 departing passengers at peak time.
“The on-going works provide for that anticipated growth to ensure a good customer experience with more room and comfort for service,” said Kakuba.
Kakuba noted that the kick off of the supervising consultant on May 16, 2017 was a milestone after a protracted procurement process which was plagued by numerous administrative reviews.
“Consultants for the design, review and construction supervision services for the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport, Dar Al – Handasah Shair and partners in association with Orion associates limited have since held various progressive discussions with the contractor, CCCC and CAA’s technical team,” added Kakuba.
The upgrade and expansion for Entebbe international airport is a design and build project to be implemented in a phased approach. Phase 1 will include the following projects to be implemented over a 5 year period:
* A new cargo center (10,000m2, with capacity of 100,000 tons)
* Construction of a new passenger terminal complex (20,000m2)
* Strengthening of runaway 17/35 and its associated taxiways
* Strengthening of runaway 12/ 30 and its associated taxiways
* Expansion and strengthening of aircraft parking Apron 1
* Rehabilitating of aircraft parking Apron 2
* On-site water supply system
* Fire water system (excluding works on Aprons) and its associated facilities
The new cargo center, which is part of the works under the supervision of the consultants commenced smoothly in May, 2016.