As Commercial Flights Resume At Anambra Airport Tomorrow, Here Are Certain Facts About The Airport 

By Uzor Nzeribe

History will be made in Nigeria's aviation industry on Tuesday, December 7, as commercial operations begin on this day at Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri. This important development is following the clearance given on December 1 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation for commercial operations to resume at the airport. In a letter to Governor Willie Obiano the following day, the chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, announced his air carrier's readiness to start flights into and out of the airport this week. As if to beat United Airlines, Air Peace, West Africa's leading airline, revealed it would start operations at the airport on Tuesday. Air Peace owns the first two of the three aircraft which landed on Friday, April 30, 2021, at the airport to test the facilities.

Air Peace does not want to just flying into the new airport and fly out. It wants to develop the airport and build it into an aviation hub. For instance, it plans to build a hanger at the airport for the servicing of not just its large fleet, which is still growing, but also aircrafts which belong to other airlines and private individuals. In addition, Air Peace has been lobbying Embraer Corporation of Brazil, the world's fourth largest aircraft manufacturer, to establish its African headquarters in Nigeria, specifically Anambra State. As you may know, Air Peace is the largest user of Embraer equipment throughout Africa. Embraer is known for high safety record and efficient fuel economy.

So, it is not surprising that Air Peace has worked so hard to maintain its incomparable record at Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport. A news report about its scheduled flights at the airport is worth quoting in detail.

"... Anambra people can heave a sigh of relief as they can now fly directly from Lagos and Abuja into the Umueri located Airport, adding that the airline will kick off with four flights per week.

According to Stanley Olisa, the airline's spokesman, “This is great news for the people of Anambra State as we are launching four flights weekly into the new airport on Tuesday. For a start, we shall be operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and as operations gather momentum, we shall increase frequencies to daily flights".

"Olisa, who said that passengers can start booking on Air Peace’s website or its mobile app, stressed that the airline plans to connect Anambra to other cities not only Lagos and Abuja.

In his words, “By the end of January 2022, we will have commenced the following connections: Anambra-Kano-Anambra, Anambra-Ibadan-Anambra and Anambra-Port Harcourt-Anambra. Air Peace is unwaveringly determined to interconnect Nigeria, providing connections which facilitate seamless economic exchanges and foster unity”.

He asserted that the consistent route expansion by the airline is a reflection of its “No-city-left-behind” initiative, which has seen the airline expand its footprints both in Nigeria and beyond, while easing the transportation burden of Nigerians.

"Air Peace currently services 19 domestic routes, 6 regional routes and 2 international destinations, and operates an increasing modern fleet of 32 aircraft, including 4 brand new Embraer 195-E2 jets and 2 Airbus 320s."

Meanwhile, the airport will make a rewarding study by project management students as well as aviation researchers and professionals everywhere. There are certain compelling facts about it which we need to take a cursory look at. here are some of them.

1. It was built in a record time of 15 months by the Willie Obiano-led Anambra State Government. The government did not borrow a kobo nor did it seek any form of financial aid to build the airport.

2. The airport was built by nine contractors and nine service providers. None of the contractors or service providers is owed a kobo.

3. A test flight was performed on April 30, 2021. The first plane that landed in the airport was a plane from the AIR PEACE fleet belonging to Chief Allen Onyema, a worthy son of Anambra State.

4. The airport is expected to create about 1000 direct and indirect jobs.

5. The Anambra International Cargo and Passenger airport is a legacy of the Willie Obiano led APGA administration. A promise that was fulfilled after three decades.

6. SIZE: The Anambra International cargo and passenger airport is a Category ( CAT ) 4F airport. This means that an A380 aircraft or an Airbus can land comfortably in the airport.

7. THE RUNWAY: The runway is the second-longest runway in Nigeria with:

- Length - 3.7km and a runway end safety area (RESA) of 1km at both ends of the runway.

- Width - 60 m
- Strip - 440 metres on either side of the runway
- Thickness - 270mm
8. RUNWAY LIGHTING: The runway is equipped with CAT 2 lighting system. This implies that a plane can be guided by the light to land safely even in adverse weather conditions.

9. SATELLITE LANDING SYSTEM: The airport is equipped with a satellite landing system (SLS). This provides for satellite assisted landing of aircraft should the runway lights fail for any reason.

The airport also has Instrument landing system, ILS, which ensures that aircrafts are vertically and horizontally aligned with the runway while landing.

10. TAXI WAY: The airport has two taxiways.
11. THE APRON: The airport apron measures 300 metres by 200 metres.

- It can accommodate 8 Boeing 747 aircraft at the same time.

- It is built on a rigid pavement of concrete with a thickness measuring 560mm and reinforced top and bottom with concrete measuring 16mm in thickness.

- The Apron is built to repel water. So even when it rains, water runs off the surface easily.

12. THE CONTROL TOWER: At a height of 34.5 metres, the control tower of the airport is the tallest in Nigeria.

- It is built with concrete top to bottom
- It is the height of an 11 storey building.
- The control tower has nine suspended floors.
- It is equipped with a lift and a staircase.
- Both the lift and staircase are 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 fire fighting system that triggers off when there's a fire emergency.

13. THE TERMINAL BUILDING: The terminal building is designed to accommodate 400 passengers. Other features include:

- A departure and arrival lounge
- There are 36 shops in the building
- There are three lifts and three escalators
- Two Avio bridges each equipped with dual boarding passages. This means that four aircraft can take passengers at the same time.

14. RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES: The airport is CAT 9 airport

- It has three fire tenders (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 20 hydrants.
15. WATER: The airport is equipped with two industrial boreholes which pump water into:

- Tank 1 - 640 cubic metres
- Tank 2 - 240 cubic metres
- There's also a water treatment plant that takes water to overhead tanks.

-The total volume of overhead tanks is 123 cubic metres.

16. POWER: A 33 KVA line drawn from Agụ Awka to the airport guarantees an 18-hour power supply.

- Two units of 500KVA generators serve as a backup to provide power always.

17. CAR PARK: The car park is aphalted and properly marked. It is designed to accommodate about 750 vehicles.

18. AIRPORT ROAD: The airport road has two access roads. The first and major airport road measures about 5.7km 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 about 4km and connects the airport to the Nteje-Umueri-Aguleri road.

The driveways within the airport are all asphalted and marked.

Ndị Anambra, behold your airport. Built, equipped and launched by Gov Obiano, What seemed a fairy tale since the creation of Anambra state 30 years ago is finally a reality.

Congratulations to Ndi Anambra