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Alderney Airport improvements essential to service says Aurigny

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IMPROVEMENTS to facilities and infrastructure at Alderney Airport are essential and would provide Aurigny with greater resilience on the route, the airline has said.

A review has been commissioned to re-examine the options and costs of the capital project for rehabilitation of the Alderney Airport pavements. (Picture by Adrian Miller (20854736)

The progression of the runway rehabilitation project, which is linked to the upcoming tender process for Alderney routes, has come under criticism from the Alderney Pressure Group.

However, ports general manager Colin Le Ray said there were good reasons for the project’s timescale.

‘The capital project for rehabilitation of the Alderney Airport pavements is moving forward and consultants have recently been appointed to re-examine the options and costs for this project,’ he said.

‘This review will also need to take into account other factors, including the potential for the PSO [public service obligation] tender process to influence the various options under consideration.

‘In addition, the review will also take into account other more recent developments, including the potential for additional air services by Air Alderney and the recent re-tendering of the aviation fuel supply concession at the airport.

‘Each of these will have some influence on the recommended solution which will need to be captured in the business case presented to the States later this year for approval.’

Economic Development has said the States of Alderney will be ‘actively involved’ in the PSO process, which should be complete by 2019.

A spokesman for Aurigny said it intended to bid for the tender.

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‘We recognise the importance of the lifeline service we operate to Alderney and we provide a high frequency and capacity on the Alderney routes, as agreed under the Memorandum of Understanding,’ they said.

‘As we have previously said, we will be bidding for the proposed PSO for the Alderney service and we are confident we have the necessary experience, expertise and skilled professionals to win the tender.

‘In the meantime, we are focused on delivering and maintaining our lifeline service to the community.

‘Improvements to facilities and infrastructure at Alderney Airport are essential for the service we provide.

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‘We very much look forward to the proposed runway repairs, which will see the width being restored to 23 metres and will improve our crosswind landing performance in Alderney.

Importantly, this will reduce the occasions when Alderney is cut off by the weather.’

The APG has said that the forecast operating losses of £3.2m. on the Alderney routes are ‘unsubstantiated’.

‘Aurigny provides confidential management accounts for its Alderney services to the representatives of both the States of Alderney and States of Guernsey that form part of the MoU group,’ said a spokesman for the States’ Trading Supervisory Board.

‘These are scrutinised at quarterly meetings with the airline, when discussion tends to focus on actual performance against budget and how fixed costs and overheads are allocated to the Alderney services. Aurigny’s financial results for the year are always subject to the usual independent audit by its external auditors.

‘We will not be publishing the detailed management accounts for the routes, as they contain commercially sensitive information which, if released publicly, would prejudice Aurigny’s ability to compete for the services under the forthcoming tender process.’

While APG feels Guernsey politicians have refused to listen to the their concerns, the States of Alderney’s Policy & Finance Committee chairman James Dent has said there is ‘much common ground between what we and Guernsey are trying to achieve’.

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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