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Kisoro Airstrip Poor State A Threat To Tourism

Kisoro Airstrip Poor State A Threat To Tourism

A section of leaders in Kisoro District have joined hands with tourism operators in an urgent appeal for help. This is amid threats by a charter flight company to suspend operations in the area.

The charter company, Aerolink, has threatened to suspend operations because of the poor state of Kisoro airstrip’s runway. This drastic course of action would severely affect the lucrative mountain gorilla tracking tourism business.

On November 2, Aerolink manager Catherine Mugo wrote to the director of safety, security and economic regulations at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA). She indicated that the airstrip is riddled with potholes.

She also pointed out that the runway has loose stones and a dangerous concrete slab that crisscrosses it. These all of which pose a great danger to aircraft landing and taking off.

“We are writing to you to humbly request that you urgently look into improving Kisoro airstrip at the earliest time possible. This is to enable us all benefit from the revenue Kisoro as a district generates from foreign guests. And make it a preferred destination for all, Ugandans inclusive,” Ms Mugo wrote.

“With the fast deterioration of the runway, Aerolink may be forced to suspend operations to Kisoro. This is as the safety of our clients, pilots and equipment is our utmost priority,” she added.

Surrounding planted trees.

The other danger facing the airstrip is the surrounding planted forest. This also affects visibility as aircrafts approach for landing.

The Kisoro District chairman, Mr Abel Bizimana; council speaker Amos Hakizimana and the chairperson of the chamber of commerce at the district, Mr Expedito Byensi, told reporters yesterday that petitioning President Museveni is the other option left to address the dire situation.

Kisoro airstrip is also very popular for receiving high-end tourists. These come to Uganda for mountain gorilla tracking in Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks found in the district.

Mr Bizimana appealed to the government to fulfil its 2016 promise to compensate people who own tree plantations around the airstrip so that they can be cut down to improve visibility

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