Excitement as Kisoro Aerodrome Reopens After Months of Rehabilitation Works

June 04 2024

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority- UCAA on Friday 31 May, 2024 oversaw test flights at Kisoro Aerodrome, marking the end of a five-month rehabilitation work at the facility.

UCAA Spokesperson, Mr Luggya Vianne Mpungu, in an update issued on Twitter, revealed that the exercise was nearing its completion, with major works done.

Leaders and the public at large have reacted to the completion of the refurbishment with excitement, revealing that the reopening of the facility will greatly enhance livelihoods and facilitate a boom in economic activities.

Mr Tukamuhabwa Robert, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner hailed the government for the intervention, indicating that the resumption of air transport services in the district will greatly facilitate the awakening of economic activities adversely impacted by months of closure.

Tukamuhabwa described tourism as the backbone of Kisoro and projected economic recovery with the reopening of the facility.

He also said that with the tourist boom months of June to September approaching, the completion of the works couldn’t have been more opportune, predicting businesses in the tourism sector to profit more.

Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro District Chairperson said he is excited at the competition of the works and hailed the contractor whom he says has done a wonderful job.

He described the period between the resumption of work at the facility and the eventual completion as ” lost time” due to the hiatus in activities related to the tourism industry but added it was a necessary sacrifice.

Bizimana said the refurbished airdom will ultimately increase the flow of tourists, both international and local, cognizant of the fact that tourism is the lifeline of the Kisoro district.

Kisoro District Chairperson Abel Bizimana.

The District boss, however, expressed concern over the size of the rehabilitated runway which is only 1200m, significantly falling short of the International standard of 2500m for a facility of a similar status. He said that the absence of enough runway at the facility has made it hard for International tourists, with some preferring to connect to the area from Kigali International Airport which he says works for Rwanda other than Uganda.

He also tasked the government to improve on the road network in the areas surrounding major tourist attractions in Kisoro, singling out the road from Kisoro through Mugahinga to Muhavura ranges and one Kisoro to Bwindi. This, he reasons that would go a long way in promoting local tourism while also providing a seamless experience for International visitors.

Responding to Bizimana’s concerns on the size of the runway, Mr Luggya revealed that CAA is planning expansion works on the runway, with another 600m expected to start in the near future.

He notes the difficulty to find additional land for expansion as the reason they can not expand the facility to 2500m at the moment but revealed plans by the government to buy more land to facilitate a complete overhaul.

In November, 2023, UCAA handed over the airfied to Tetra Technical services to undertake the rehabilitation following concerns from users over its dilapidation. The works were to include the runway and associated taxiways.

Kisoro is a popular tourist destination famous for among others mountain gorilla tracking at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

Luggya then revealed that a feasibility study had been conducted to establish the practicality of the Airdrome expansion into an international Airport with further studies underway.

Adopted from: The Ankole Times June 4, 2024

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