Uganda will build a second international airport, Kabaale International Airport, which is on track to begin construction in 2018.

The airport will handle passengers and cargo and facilitate the construction of an oil refinery in the area. Oil was discovered 10 years ago in the Albertine rift basin near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.   

The airport is to be built in the Hoima District in the west of the country. The main impetus for the airport is the oil refinery, following concerns from foreign investors that Uganda’s narrow and weak roads would not be able to handle construction vehicles, trucks, equipment, and later oil tanks.

While construction is slightly behind schedule, Ronald Twesigye, Manager of Aerodrome Engineering Planning and Development at the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda, said: “It is anticipated that the project will be substantially completed in three years.” Construction is expected to begin in January.

“The first phase is primarily to facilitate the construction of the oil refinery. The second phase is intended to commercialise the airport,” he said.

The first phase is expected to be completed in 2020, and phase two for commercial visitors will be completed in 2022. The airport is expected to boost the economy of Uganda, and is part of a master plan to increase tourism within Uganda.

The airport will be built by Colas (the UK subsidiary of French civil engineering firm, Colas Group) and SBI. In November Colas was granted a £215m (R4bn) loan for the construction.

UK Export Finance and Standard Chartered Bank are expected extend credit of up to £260m (R5bn) to Uganda for the construction.