By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
In the U.S., airports generally are sited far beyond the outer edges of urban areas, but a new project in Nigeria aims to make the airport the very center of the city. The proposed Minna Airport City/Aerotropolis Project will consist of two runways that cross diagonally, with a control tower in the middle, and a city built in the areas between the runways, with hotels, shops, a conference center, a hospital, and a manufacturing district, according to a recent story in Miller-McCune. Currently there is a general aviation airport on the site, with an 11,000-foot runway, that handles fewer than 10 flights a day. The airport district would extend well beyond the airport boundary, and connect to other nearby urban areas. The country, which is the most populous state in Africa, is trying to diversify its economy and develop more agricultural and mineral exports.
"Airports have become key for the economic development and competitiveness of countries throughout the world," said Danladi Ndayebo, a government spokesman, writing in All-Africa. "Whereas airports were originally built to perform one function, they are now cities in themselves with significant retail provision, acting as employment centers and generators of significant wealth. As the airports have expanded and the nature of their business evolved, their peripheries have developed to include major manufacturing and business centers." Proponents hope the new development will attract international trade and encourage local businesses to expand.