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Airline boss rejects £30m. spend on longer runway

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PLANS to get a runway extension built in the next three years have been labelled a 'worrying failure to understand the contra-implication far beyond a £30m. piece of Tarmac', by one airline boss.

In a stinging rebuke to Economic Development Committee vice-president Jan Kuttelwascher's move for the extension, Blue Islands managing director Rob Veron questioned the intentions of the move.

'The States of Guernsey owns Guernsey Airport, has its own airline, Aurigny, it has direct responsibility for tourism within the Committee for Economic Development and controls air links through its licensing panel,' he said.

'Where else has such control over an industry, yet continues to naively waste money de-stabilising its own investments and those of another locally owned and committed operator?

'The stakeholder objectives for these various entities need to be aligned if there is to be a net gain to Guernsey PLC.

'Deputy Kuttelwascher hopes a runway extension would lead to a low cost carrier operating in Guernsey, but is there actually any interest?'

Jets are inefficient on short regional services, he said, and a low cost carrier's business model requires high volumes and big demographics, which is at odds to what Guernsey can provide.

London Gatwick would be the 'obvious choice' for any low cost carrier to attempt, Mr Veron said, which would have a knock-on effect on Aurigny, and by implication, the States.

It would be better to try to fill existing seats.

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