Sneak peek into Kabaale airport works

Dr Micheal Mugerwa (R), the Oil Refiney general manager, briefs Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the Ministry of Finance  permanent secretary during a tour of Kabaale International Airport recently.  PHOTO | 

What you need to know:

The overall progress of Uganda’s second international airport is at 77 percent, according to the March monthly progress report.

It is only 10 months until February 2023, which is the tentative year in which government expects operations at Kabaale International Airport to begin.  

It’s a race against time as the airport is among the most critical infrastructure that will be required in the oil and gas sector at the development stage.

The overall progress of Uganda’s second international airport is at 77 percent, according to the March monthly progress report from SBC, a joint venture of SBI International Holdings and Colas UK, the main contractors undertaking construction works. 

Following the discovery of oil and corresponding feasibility studies by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, government made a decision to acquire 29 square kilometres of land for the development of a refinery, petrochemicals plant and an airport. These are centrally located between the oil fields.

Studies recommended, they were among the required infrastructure, of which an international airport would facilitate refinery location and accommodation of large cargo airplanes with carrying capacity of up to 100 tonnes and with the ability to accommodate take-off runs of at least 3,500 metres.

 The airport lies on a runway length of 3,500 metres and a width of 45 metres and is designed to support the operation of cargo and passenger aircraft with parallel taxiway, parking aprons, airfield ground lighting, navigation aids, control tower, terminal and cargo buildings, roads and parking facilities.

Study reports show the airport will facilitate safe and reliable door-to-door transport of machinery and equipment for construction, operation and maintenance of the oil refinery in the first five years.

The airport is expected to hold regional commercial jets such as Airbus A319, Antonov AN124 with approximate size of 120 tonnes of oversize cargo, Boeing B747- 800F, with approximate carrying capacity of 140 tonnes of oversize cargo.

It is envisaged that jet fuel for aircrafts will be supplied from a fuel terminal in Entebbe International Airport or directly from the oil terminals in Eldoret and Kisumu in Kenya by road.

When the planned refinery is built, and provided that the refinery will produce Jet A-1 fuel – a kind of kerosene grade fuel suitable for most turbine engine aircraft.

It is envisaged that the fuel will be delivered directly from the refinery through a short pipeline to the fuel storage in the airport.

The airport is also set to have several tanks for the storage and handling of Jet A-1 fuel including one tank for receipt of fuel from fuel trucks, one tank for settling, quality control and reserve in the maintenance period, and one tank for delivery to the aircraft.

The water supply demand for the airport is estimated to be 52 cubic metres per day, which is an approximate 52,000 litres, including water demand from passengers and staff including cleaning facilities.

To this, comes the demand for firefighting water supplies and waste water generated, which is estimated to be the same as the water supply demand.

Waste water is expected to be handled with proper drainage system combined with septic tanks of- site and soak away.

Cargo terminal

The airport’s cargo terminal in its nature is designed to be a large room for storage of goods and equipment. Also, facilities are provided for office use, police and customs.

The cargo terminal will also act as a passenger terminal for small amounts of passenger traffic in and out of Kabaale, and as such also check- in, immigration, baggage sorting and immigration is included in the terminal.

The cargo terminal will also have access from airside and landside separated by a security checkpoint. It will be flexible for expansion with new facilities, such as cool houses, veterinary control and shelving systems, depending on how cargo demand changes over time.

In line with the provisions for a category 8 airport, three fire and rescue vehicles have been catered for. The total capacity in the vehicles is 27,300 litres of water. An extra bay has been provided to accommodate a standard- 4 wheel drive vehicle for the fire chief and ambulance.

The apparatus deployed will have direct and safe access to the extremities of the movement area within the recommended time of 180 seconds.

Landslide road system and parking        

The landslide road system will include access roads, circulation roads and parking areas for staff and passengers.

It is assumed that in the initial phase, there will be a housing need of about 35 staff; 30 staff members mainly in the managerial and operational positions and five specialists who may need short term accommodation. 

A gateway to the region

During a recent visit to the oil fields, Ramathan Ggoobi, the Ministry of finance permanent secretary said the Kabaale International Airport will be a game changer to provide a transit route for the region’s export product to Africa and European markets.


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