Uganda Airline air crafts, the Bombardier CRJ 900 series cannot land on the different airfields in the country, Emphraim Bagenda, the Chief Executive Officer of the company has said.
A section of Ugandans have been wondering why the airline company whose flights were suspended on forthwith March 23rd to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic doesn’t operate inside the country.
The operations at several inland airfields would according to several Ugandans help in reducing the costs of air transport if the 76 sitters start transporting people and cargo.
However, Emphraim Bagenda, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda National Airlines Company says, the aircraft manual would not guarantee the landing and take off of the Bombardier CRJ 900 series on runways made of murram, grass and gravel.
“We may also have to establish if the runways are long enough like the Entebbe runway 12/30,” he says.
The CRJ 900 are a family of regional jet airliners designed and manufactured by Canadian transportation conglomerate Bombardier; this aircraft trio has been collectively marketed by the company as the CRJ Series. Their design was derived from the smaller CRJ 100 and 200 airliners.
The series CRJ 900 that Uganda first acquired are 76 sitters, with a minimum number of flight hours since they a smaller fuel tank.
The air crafts are not designed for short tarmac runway, neither are they designed murram runways.
Such places would lead to a crush of such aircraft on landing or take off.
Currently, Entebbe Airport runways and that of Hoima International Airport (Which is still under construction) would handle he landing and take off of the Bombardier CRJ 900 series. Well as Arua has a larger airfield, the runway is murram and not asphalt which renders the airfield unable to handle the landing and takeoff of such air crafts.
Well as the air crafts would land at Soroti flying school, the facilities in place can’t handle a departing flight.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, Upcountry airfields at Kasese, Gulu and Arua are planned for upgrade to International Standards.
Arua and Kasese airfields are in particular planned for development to airports of category 4C that can handle aircraft of size B737 – 500 series. The master plan and preliminary engineering designs for Arua and Gulu have been completed. The plans provide for a code 4D runway of 2700 metres by 45 metres for Arua.
In relation to Gulu, the plans detail construction of a new runway (3100 metres by 60 metres), new taxiways, a new apron, a new passenger terminal building, cargo complex, a new car park, access road, control tower and a new fire station.The first phase of this project is estimated to cost 56 million US dollars.
The construction, renovation, repairs, upgrade and maintenance of airfields and airports is a mandate of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.
Currently, the Authority is working on the upgrade of Entebbe International Airport and the construction of Hoima International Airport in the Bunyoro Region.
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