Why Airports Are So Close To Water

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A lot of airports are built near water. And there’s a whole bunch of reasons for this. First off, most airports are located in big cities, and big cities are usually built near some form of water anyway. Back in the day, before trucks and proper roads were built, goods were transported by ship. Having a river or ocean nearby was vital to deliver essential supplies to the cities like food and building supplies. It also allowed for trading to boost the local economies. Because most people travel into big cities for business and holidays. Rather than rural areas, it made sense to build the airports there. The high demand for travel meant that the airports were needed and also made them profitable. But that’s not the only reason they’re built near water. big cities are usually super crowded, and airports require a lot of lag. Imagine trying to find a space big enough in the middle of New York City to put an airport, it would be basically impossible. Areas next to water are usually a bit more rural.

So there’s more space than the big cities filled with skyscrapers. Some countries have even taken this one step further. Land is really scarce in Japan. So to build konza International Airport, the architects of Osaka headed three miles offshore to Osaka Bay to make a manmade island. The artificial island is 13,200 feet long and 8500 feet wide. That’s so big that it can even be seen from space. It took a whopping 38 months to complete and travelers can get across to the main island of Honshu via car railroad or high speed ferry. konza International Airport opened in 1994 and became the world’s first airport to be built on the seat. Despite its location, it has the longest airport terminal in the world with a length of just under one mile. Airplanes also can’t have any obstacles around them when landing, it would be really difficult to try and landing a plane with obstructions. These include trees, mountains, buildings and powerlines. overwater, nothing will restrict planes from taking off or landing, making it much safer.

On mountainous islands, runways are often parallel to the ocean as the mountains are inland, just like in the grand Canaria airport located on one of the Canary Islands. It also links to safety reasons. If a plane has to cancel a runway landing and go back around again, there must be enough room for it to do this safely without hitting anything. It’s also got to be able to climb back up into the air at a safe angle to avoid causing problems for the passengers inside. Reaching this safe altitude is much easier quicker and safer by the sea compared to big cities poor mountainous areas. Speaking of failed landings, pilots are trained to deal with engine failure on takeoff. If a plane reaches the right speed for takeoff, it has to leave the runway even if the engine fails. But don’t worry, planes can still fly with only one engine, it just requires a bit more effort. Because of the reduced capacity, it takes longer to reach the right altitude and the more space is required for takeoff. Taking off towards the ocean makes it easier to climb to a safe altitude without worrying about colliding with any obstacles. Another reason for airports being built at water level is that the higher up we go, the thinner the air becomes, it causes the thrust of the engines to decrease as well as the lift produced by the wings. Setting off from higher areas means it’s more difficult for the planes to take off. In terms of money. This would mean building longer runways which would cost more and no one wants that. This also means the planes require less fuel as they don’t burn as much energy on takeoff. And there’s less noise made as the planes don’t have to work as hard. But despite this making the planes less noisy airports are going to have pretty high noise levels. Imagine hearing planes zooming over your house while you’re trying to get sleep at night. This is a key reason why airports are usually built on the coast far away from any residential areas as fish aren’t generally known to file noise complaints. In some countries, airports actually have to provide upgrades for nearby houses that will be affected by the noise.

Germany is one of these countries and they do everything from improving roofs to adding wall insulation to cover all that noise. Building by the coast means that they don’t have to pay up for all these expensive upgrades which saves the airport lots of cash. coastal areas also have weather advantages for flying. sea breezes are steady winds that blow from the water to the land. Planes mostly land and take off with the wind, making it the perfect place to build an airport as there’ll be no delays caused by unexpected strong winds. But while the sea breezes that come in spring and summer are great areas near water can be prone to fog during fall and winter. So this part has its pros and cons. But not every airport is on the coast as it does also pose a number of issues too. One of the biggest is Birds. Our feathered friends love the coast because of all the yummy fish, but they can cause big problems for pilots. But airports managed to get around this using scare tactics. birds don’t really enjoy noise and planes aren’t the quietest of things. Airports also make loud bangs and even train hawks to take down birds that are in the way. The most obvious risk of building close to the sea, though, is flooding. Airports cost crazy amounts of money to build and planes aren’t cheap either. Back in 2018 Kansai Airport was flooded by Typhoon jebi. They had to cancel all operations for two days and the water was so high that it damaged the engines of the plains. Well, coastal airports put measures in place to protect against flooding, it’s pretty difficult to save everything from a typhoon. With rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather. These floodings are also looking more and more likely to happen. A quarter of the world’s 100 busiest airports are less than 32 feet above sea level, and 12 of those including New York, San Francisco, and Shanghai are less than 16 feet. Yikes.

All that water poses another problem. If planes overshoot the runway, they have nowhere to go. overshooting is basically when the pilot underestimates the length of the runway and doesn’t reach takeoff speed in time. There are usually extra bits of concrete or grass that the plane can run on to when the airports are on land. There’d be a bit of damage to the plane in this case, but nothing major. But with coastal airports, the plane might go straight into the water. Luckily, there’s new tech that aims to prevent this from happening. These new kids let the pilots enter in all the flight calculations, including the weather conditions that could affect takeoff. This system then calculates how much runway the plane will need to stop. Many airports also have added soft concrete to the end of runways to avoid a watery disaster. When the plane glides onto this soft concrete, they get stuck and it stops them traveling too far. There are also financial issues with building airports next to the water. Land rent next to the coast or lakes is usually higher than the mainland due to the demand. Like 40% of the US population lives on the coast despite coastal areas only making up around 10% of America’s total landmass. Airports require flat land to be built on. But this isn’t always easy to find. And coastal land can pose particular problems due to sand conditions on Marsh land. But this doesn’t mean it’s not possible. One of the world’s most famous airports New York’s JFK was built on Marsh land.

The land was a lot cheaper than usual. And marshland can’t really be used for a lot. Of course, it can cost a lot of money to make the ground suitable to carry heavy loads. But this was all sorted. Finding such a big area close to one of the world’s most famous cities was a very rare find, even if it was March left

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