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Municipal Officials Want “Idle” Kitgum Airfield Degazetted

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Vianney Luggya, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Spokesperson on Tuesday told Uganda Radio Network in a telephone interview that the authority has indeed received the proposal from the Municipal Council to have the airfield degazetted.
Locals move with their animals on the runway of the defunct Kitgum Airfield in Kitgum Municipality on Tuesday August 18 2021.

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Kitgum Municipal Council officials have called for the degazettement of the defunct Kitgum airfield in Pandwong Division. Richard Ojara Okwera, the Mayor of Kitgum Municipal Council, says that the airfield has been redundant and non-functional for the past 20 years.  

According to Ojara, the airfield currently occupies approximately 400 plots of land in a prime location in the central business district yet it’s non-functional. The airfield under the management of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has a runway measuring 1500 meters and is used for landing and takeoff for light aircraft.

Ojara says the surrounding areas near the airfield are currently populated with residential buildings and unsuitable for running an aviation business in case of any accidents.  

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Ojara says if the proposal to degazette the airfield is granted by the government; the Municipal Council will allocate alternative land for the establishment of an airfield outside the Central Business District. He however didn't disclose the proposed site for the establishment of the airfield. 

Between 2011 and 2016,  Kitgum Municipal officials identified land in Opete East in Labongo Amida sub-county and Labongo Akwang Sub-county for relocation of the airfield to aid development. They later abandoned the areas due to land conflicts.

The Pandwong Division LC III Chairperson, Ben Bob Paul Ayoli says the proposal by the Municipal Council to have the defunct airfield degazetted is a good move but raised concern over the processes that require the involvement of the Civil Aviation Authority. Ayoli says degazetting the airfield for development will be a blessing for the division in terms of collecting revenue from property and businesses.

In 2018, officials from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority disagreed with the Municipal Council authorities over their proposals to relocate vendors to occupy a section of the Kitgum Airfield to pave way for the construction of the modern Kitgum central Market. 

Former Managing Director, David Mpango Kakuba, said in a letter that the aviation body was in the process of redeveloping the airfield in a bid to target the tourism business at Kidepo Valley National Park in Orom Sub-county, some 80 kilometres away from Kitgum Municipality.

Vianney Luggya, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Spokesperson on Tuesday told Uganda Radio Network in a telephone interview that the authority has indeed received the proposal from the Municipal Council to have the airfield degazetted.

Luggya says a team of technical personnel from the authority visited the proposed new site and found it suitable for the establishment of an airfield. He however says they await the completion of detailed formalities and handover of the proposed site before the old airfield land is degazetted.

 

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