The ground lighting system of Kabalega International Airport installed by the contractor to guide the landing of the heavy cargo aircraft, has been tested. The construction of Kabalega International Airport in the oil city of Hoima was contracted to SBC Uganda Ltd.
According to SBC Uganda Ltd spokesperson Amos Muriisa, the installation of the lighting system and marking of the 3.5km runway is progressing on the international airport. The completion of Kabalega International Airport will be crucial in the development of the oil and gas industry.
The testing of the lighting system was witnessed by the cabinet finance minister Matia Kasaija.
Muriisa said the lights marking the end of the runway emit red light to departing aircraft indicating the end of the flight strip, and emit green outward from the runway end to indicate the threshold to landing aircraft.
“We have completed the construction of the cargo terminals, and currently, the airport can receive aircraft, but with control from Entebbe International Airport,” he said.
Muriisa said they had engaged the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to construct a 4km access road to the airport because the current one was only for delivering construction materials. “One cannot access the airport through the runway because the current access road is through the runway. We have engaged UNRA to construct the Kigaga road in Kikuube district,” he said.
The airport will be used to deliver heavy equipment which will be used in the construction of the refinery, which is located at Kabelega Industrial Park, just two kilometres from the airport.
The lighting system is being powered by a generator currently because the airport does not have enough power supply. The progress on the runway stands at an impressive 98% completion.
SBC Uganda Ltd, in collaboration with SBI International Holdings, commenced the massive project on April 18, 2018, and the airport was initially slated to open in 2022. The remaining work includes plans for a control tower, with discussions on funding and project extensions underway, according to Muriisa.
Handing over the airport
Kabalega International Airport in Hoima district was expected to be handed over to the government in 2022. However, the handing over was extended and it became to be of December 26th 2023. In the same way the handing over of the airport by SBC Uganda Ltd to the government was extended for other 2 month and it’s expected to happen in February 2024 upon completion.
The construction works for the airport, which kicked off in April 2018, by SBC (Uganda) Ltd, a joint venture of SBI International Holdings AG and Colas, UK. The Project is financed 85% by a loan from UK Export Finance (UKEF) a 15% by Commercial Source-Standard Chartered Bank. The value of the Contract is €309,100,256 of which €264,077,144 is for Construction.
According to Anurag Kalvagunta, the construction manager at SBC remarked in December the extension is to allow the airport completion.
He expound the construction is now stands at 95% with the most crucial facilities including the construction of the runway, which is 3.5 kilometers long and 45 meters wide, the cargo terminal building, the limited-capacity passenger terminal building, the air rescue firefighting house and the air-ground lighting system among others all completed.