by Omara Elem – Lira
President Yoweri Museveni has ordered an immediate stop to the sale land of the disputed East African Civil Aviation Academy (Formerly Soroti Flying School). The sale was under dispute between the Academy and the Uganda Land Commission, saying the Academy needs to expand to cater for the countries aviation plans.
Museveni: “We have plans to expand the runway which is now 1800 metres and make it much longer. We need it for our aviation plans. We are going to build four more airports including Soroti, Gulu, Kasese, Arua and we are even thinking of one in Ntugamo at Rwentobo so that we have direct links with Europe without going through Entebbe. Uganda is developing fast, exports will pick up, we need to expand air infrastructure.”
Training pilots is big business
The president who launched six newly acquired Skyhawk aircrafts, said training pilots is a very important business. Especially in Africa were training facilities are not many. He said pilots for civilian airlines and for the army are on high demand and that government will do what it can to give the Academy what it needs.
Regarding the lighting that is lacking and therefore rendering night training is impossible, the president pledged to deal with the issue of lighting so that at night trainers can use the airport.
Trainees should be disciplined
He urged pilot trainees to be disciplined and avoid, drinking alcohol and prostitution. “Your parents are spending a lot of money to keep you here, you should not betray them by dying a few years afterwards. Don’t let down your parents”, he said.
Captain Mike Mukula, who is also the NRM Vice Chairperson for Eastern Region commended the president for turning the flying school into a facility of excellence. He was happy that the president had pledged to support the installation of the lighting system and the halting of the sale of land.
According to the acting director B.D. W. Wandera, the government has put in place Project 1052: the Rehabilitation and Re-equipping of the East African Civil Aviation Academy with a total budget of Shs 17.5 billion. The academy has already procured six brand new single engine training aircrafts and is also replacing old asbestos roofing with pre painted iron sheets among other things.
“The weakness comes because some ministries don’t know how to prioritize. There is no money to cover all matters, but when it comes to prioritization, there is no way we can fail to rehabilitate an academy like this one. The money is there, the Academy will be rehabilitated and developed fully,” he said.
Disappointment in Lango region
|The news came with mix feelings in Lango sub region as they were expecting the airport in Anai, Lira district to be among the list of airport to be constructed by the government. It has been pledge by the government and the president himself. Journalist Tapi Ambrose said the people of Lango has benefited so little in this government compare to other people. Lira district NRM administrator John Howard Odongo Okello urges the people of Lango to be patient because the government is doing all possible to make sure this airport is constructed up to international standards.