According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), two aircrafts; Boeing 737 mark N5,-BUJ, and Embraer 145 belonging to Air Peace Airline landed by 2.26 pm and 2.46 pm respectively, yesterday April 30, at Anambra airport.
Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema “…What we have here is the widest runway ever (in Nigeria) ..and could land a Boeing 777 and an Airbus 380.’ He described the new Anambra Airport as ‘an ambitious project initiated by Gov. Willie Obiano which has recorded impressive execution in 15 months’
Length of runway isn’t the only important variable, width is important too, and also influences types and sizes of aircraft capable of using an airports’ services.
None of the runway lengths in airports in Nigeria come close to any global or for that matter, even African leaders. The ‘gong’ for the longest runway in the world is a tie between Shigatse Peace Airport (China) and Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport (Russia), both 5km (5000m)
Nevertheless, with the advances in Aviation Design Technology, modern commercial airports don’t need to be that long.
Airbus A 310 was the first commercial aircraft to have a ‘wingtip fence’ in 1985 which was the precursor to the modern ‘winglets’ , ‘sharklets’ and ‘raked wingtip’ designs. While the main benefit of these innovations is reduction in fuel costs and extension of long haul range, they also allow a commercial jet to start descent far earlier, and land comfortably on a shorter runway.
Having a good location – air current behaviour, terrain, altitude, etc, comfortable runway width, good runway build quality, and the latest available technologies are far more important than winning a ‘mine is bigger than yours’ game with runway length.
Russia and China to a certain extent are where US were in the ’50’s and early ’60’s with this notion of quality improves with increased size… but biggest isn’t always best.
Margaret Ekpo International, Calabar, whose best runway is 2450m, is able to comfortably accommodate even the largest of the commercial airliners in popular usage, which have been built in the last ten years.
Unless you have plans to land strange six engine Russian or Chinese behemoths, extra runway is expenditure that can be better invested in aviation support technologies in, perhaps the tower.
At the turn of the millennium a plan was afoot for an airport in Osun State which would have broken the 4km line for a Nigerian runway. Unfortunately the local bid grantee AWOL, didn’t get the funding to proceed with the project due to their Turkish partner, Biray Group.
As the relationship between the partners continued to further break down, the local company became increasingly uncontactable by reporters and other local ‘interested parties’… with a name like ‘AWOL’ – it is something you couldn’t make up!
Being the newest airport in Nigeria, Anambra International of course, now has the most cutting edge technology in airport management currently available. Being based in Umueri , it is striking distance from active O&G sites, the river Niger, and many surrounding states, so it will bring huge benefits not only to Anambra but to the region.
References and Acknowledgements:
- Air Peace makes history, lands in Anambra Airport – P.M. News (pmnewsnigeria.com)