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The city has two airports, which reflects the fact that it’s really two cities that have joined – one much larger and one to the west (New Haven) that has grown over time and eventually merged in with the main urban area. There are probably additional minor airports/military bases/aviation fields, but those are yet to be drawn (which is perhaps a good reminder for me to think about where they might go). The map below shows the location of the two airports (A being the main one, B being the secondary one):The main airport (Baba City International Airport) is actually fairly central, located approximately 9 kilometres north, and slightly east, of the city centre. Here’s what it looks like rather more “zoomed in”:

There are three runways, although perhaps one of them might be largely set aside as an emergency backup runway. I’m not entirely sure of how far apart runways need to be in order to operate simultaneously, but my expectation is that the centre runway would be the backup, leaving the other two to operate in normal situations – the shorter one handling shorter-haul flights and the longer one carrying the big planes. There’s just the one terminal (it seems that splitting domestic and international terminals is more trouble than it’s worth) and hopefully quite a lot of room for ancillary aviation activities (these occur further to the south too, which is a quite major industrial park).

Transport to the Airport is fairly comprehensive. The orange line at the bottom of the picture indicates a motorway (a fairly short stub motorway that links to one of the city’s main north-south motorways). The purple line travelling east-west is one of the city’s Metro lines, the green line is another metro line, while the pinkish line travelling in a north-south direction is one of the main commuter rail lines – probably with at least four tracks – and provides a high-speed service between the airport and the city centre (kind of like the Heathrow Express).

The second airport (New Haven Airport) also provides for international flights, but I expect to a much more limited number of destinations. It is possible that the airport is used by discount airlines, as it might have a bit more spare capacity than the city’s main airport and therefore offer cheaper landing fees.

There’s just the one runway, a combined international and domestic terminal, and once again access to a Metro Line (the maroon coloured line, which splits into two just north of the airport station).

Airports are important ‘gateways’ to our cities, typically providing the first impression someone has of that country. Making comparisons between say, Singapore Changi Airport and LAX Airport in Los Angeles can’t help but begin to form your impressions of those places: Singapore as incredibly organised, cutting edge, willing to invest in public facilities. Los Angeles as, well, not quite the same. While Airports have never fascinated me in the same way as, say, railway stations and metro networks, there’s certainly value in them and I did work pretty hard to ensure that the city’s main airport in particular came across as a world-class airport befitting a city of its size.

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