Chamber president: Lengthen runway and back our airlines

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ECONOMIC Development's plans to look at extending the airport runway have earned strong support from the president of the Chamber of Commerce.

A vote at the Institute of Directors' mid-term meeting earlier this month showed that a strong majority of those in attendance thought that if taxpayers' money was going to be spent, it should be on supporting and enhancing existing connections.

But there was backing from Chamber president Martyn Dorey, who said it should not be a choice between enhancing what we have or extending the runway, but that the island should aspire to both.

'I'm not particularly keen on seeing green fields concreted over, but you have to look at Guernsey's future and it is a sensible move for the island,' he said.

'It will provide a range of new options for business off the island, and businesses on island, if they can come here on the same aircraft as they use for anywhere else.

'It will also open up our tourism market.'

Mr Dorey also said extending the runway would send a good signal to overseas businesses that the government was keen to keep the island up to date.

'It will send a signal to the global market that we want to position ourselves at as a destination in our own right – not just as an appendage to Jersey.

'Obviously there are concerns over the costs, and it will have to be done cost efficiently, but we are here and now and we have to push for good infrastructure.'

Confederation of Guernsey Industry chairman Clive McMinn said its initial reaction to the idea of extending the runway was a no, but it was open to discussion.

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