A section of the departure terminal at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda was left flooded on Sunday, September 3, 2023, following heavy rainfall.
This incident has prompted fresh concerns regarding the ongoing refurbishment and expansion efforts at the airport by the Ugandan Armed Forces engineering team.
“Owing to a heavy downpour in Entebbe on Sunday, September 3, a section of the departure area was temporarily affected by water, which is in proximity to the area of the ongoing airport expansion works. The situation was immediately rectified,” the safety department of the airport said in a statement.
Officials from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) have indicated that the situation has been contained, attributing the flooding to leaks from the upper floors of the terminal building
Some witnesses and sources, including a witness quoted in the Ugandan newspaper, the Monitor, have suggested that the quality of the construction work might be a contributing factor to the structural failure.
However, the army’s engineering team overseeing the project has denied responsibility for the incident.
Brig Kulaigye, the spokesperson of the defense forces, clarified, “It is true there was a storm at Entebbe International Airport on Sunday, and this caused leaking on the second and third floors of the building. The gutters on those floors had not been worked on for a long time, and they had become weak, hence causing the leaking.”
The construction of the new departure lounge at Uganda’s international airport is expected to conclude by the end of the current month, as stated by officials from the Ministry of Works.
The upgrade of the passenger terminal was initiated by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority under the National Civil Aviation Master Plan in 2015, with an estimated total cost of $200 million, to be financed by China’s Exim Bank.
However, this project has been marred by numerous issues, including reports of questionable construction quality, substantial cost overruns, delays in progress, and missed deadlines.
Over a year ago, there were even reports suggesting that China might take over the airport’s management to recover the Exim Bank loan. These reports, however, were later denied by the government.