THE Anambra International Passengers and CargoAirport, Umueri sits on 1500 hectares of land with enough room for expansion from Ivite Umueri to neighbouring communities of Nando, Umunya, Otuocha, Aguleri, Nteje, Nsugbe and beyond. The ultra-modern airport has three entry points.
The main access road to the airport stretches, a grassland with building fast springing up on both of the road from the Odumodu Junction, Umunya point of entry on the busy Enugu-Onitsha Expressway to the airport’s car park behind the terminal. On this access point, other than private vehicle, except for few commercial tricycles, the means of transportation is by commercial motorcycles, known as Okada.
The road is a one-lane carriage with provision to double it or even make it a boulevard. The second road snakes its way from the popular Awkuzu Junction on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, linking Nteje, then connecting the central access road from Umunya, which is about half a kilometer to the airport. The Umueri entry point, the third road at Ivite Umueri is the least used of the roads, untarred, hilly virgin grassland accessed by mostly commercial tricycle operators. This accessed point though connects Nteje by tarred road. The left flank is accessed mostly by people from Anambra West and Ayamelum LGAs and Kogi State. The airport access road terminates a few metres before the apron.
The airport apron is five times the size of a standard football field, made of marked concrete floor built with double layered 16mm rod. The apron where the activities of the test-running event took place can take 10 sizable planes at once At the right end of the apron is the terminal. The airport terminal stands out, even from afar. The imposing structure has three floors, fitted with escalators and lifts. When completed will accommodate 450 persons. The terminal design allows for easy passengers transfer between ground transportation and the facilities that would enable them to board and disembark from an aircraft.
About 200 metres from the terminal is the 11 stories tower. Arguably, one of the tallest in the country. Before the airport’s commission, it will be equipped with an Instrument Landing System (ILS), guaranteeing a safe landing for airplanes at night.
The airport is the most modern in Nigeria; its runway is 3.7 kilometres long and 60 metres wide, designed and built to enable landing from either side. The airport has the second-longest runway in Nigeria, next to only Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos.
Speaking of the airport, Chief Allen Onyema said: “This is one of the fastest airports to be approved by the federal government, and it is due to the quality of work done. We have the widest runway ever in Nigeria, and it can land Airforce 380, which is the largest aircraft. This is the first time an airline in Nigeria will be doing a test run with Boeing 737. The wonderful thing was the facility it was built in record time. I shed tears of joy when I landed, and may God bless Governor Obiano for this wonderful achievement.”
Work commenced at the airport in December, 2009, and will be commissioned by the end of 2021. The airport design features aviation fuel dump (First in Nigeria) where aircrafts will fly in to refuel, aircraft maintenance facility. Other facilities include fire station, aviation fuel dispensing facilities, airport cargo sheds, aviation training and services buildings, airport recreational areas, emergency service centres, and others at various stages of construction will be fully functional.