Commentary: Umueri Airport, Connecting Anambra To The World

Commentary: Umueri Airport, Connecting Anambra To The World

All progressive minds in Anambra are presently in joyous mood ever since the only alert governor in Nigeria, Chief Willie Obiano, announced that one of his legacy projects, the Anambra International Passenger And Cargo Airport would be commissioned for commercial operations tomorrow. Their joy turned boisterous when they equally heard that one of the sons of the soil, Chief Allen Onyema of Air Peace, has announced the commencement of his flight from the airport from tomorrow.

Ndi Anambra, truth be told, the airport is the most ambitious project ever executed by the government of Anambra State since it was created in 1991, nay, since the old Anambra State was created in 1976. And Governor Obiano has good reason to congratulate himself and his government for this rare feat.

Suffice it to say that the Anambra airport is unique in many aspects. It is the only airport to be started and completed in less than two years after construction started. Other airports took more than ten years. Since 1980, shortly after Jim Nwobodo became the first elected governor of the old Anambra State, the plan and aspiration to build an airport for Anambra State had been on the drawing board. A site was even acquired for it at Oba.

Furthermore, the government did not borrow a kobo nor did it seek any form of financial aid to build the airport. The airport was built by nine contractors and nine service providers and none of them is owed a dime. It is projected that the airport will create about 1500 direct and indirect jobs.

The size of the airport is unprecedented. An A380 aircraft or an Airbus can land comfortably in it, while the runway is the second-longest in Nigeria. The runway is also equipped with CAT 2 lighting system, implying that a plane can be guided by the light to land safely, even in adverse weather conditions. It is equally equipped with a Satellite Landing System (SLS), which provides for satellite-assisted landing of aircraft should the runway lights fail for any reason. The Anambra airport has two taxiways. The car park is asphalted and properly marked. It is designed to accommodate about 750 vehicles.

 The airport apron can accommodate eight Boeing 747 aircraft at the same time.  The airport is built on a rigid pavement of concrete. The Apron is built to repel water. So even when it rains, water runs off the surface easily. At a height of 34.5 metres, the control tower of the airport is the tallest in Nigeria. It is the height of an 11-storey building. The control tower has nine suspended floors, which is equipped with a lift and a staircase, which are all fireproof. It is also equipped with biometric security doors.

Every room in the control tower and indeed the entire airport is equipped with a water sprinkler. However, the control tower has a self-firefighting system that triggers off when there is a fire emergency.

The terminal building is designed to accommodate 400 passengers. Other features include: A departure and arrival lounge, 36 shops in the building, three lifts and three escalators, two Avio bridges, each equipped with dual boarding passages, meaning that four aircraft can take passengers at the same time.

The Anambra International airport is CAT 9 airport. It has three fire engines that can shoot water up to the height of the control tower.  The tenders can be controlled by the driver alone.  The airport is also equipped with two industrial boreholes, which pump water into many tanks. There’s also a water treatment plant that takes water to overhead tanks.

 Above all, a 33 KVA line, drawn from Agụ Awka to the airport, guarantees an 18-hour power supply, while two units of 500KVA generators serve as a backup to provide power always.

The airport has two access roads. The first and major airport road measures about 6 kilometres and connects the Onitsha-Enugu expressway to the airport. It is a dual carriageway road fitted with a bridge on either side of the carriageway. It has drainages on both sides. The road is completed, clearly marked and fitted with streetlights. The second airport road measures connects the airport to the Nteje-Umueri-Aguleri road. The driveways within the airport are all asphalted and marked.

Ndi Anambra, there is no doubt that the new airport at Umueri will transform Anambra to its rightful classification among Nigerian states – a Grade A state and make the state rank among global economies like Lagos, California, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Dubai. If not broken, why mend it? A vote for Soludo on November 6th will be a consolidation. Vote APGA for progress.

WRITTEN BY DR. NNAMDI NWADIOGBU

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