‘Quick win’ safety area review could see longer runway
EXTENDING the runway by reducing its safety areas will be investigated ‘in the next few weeks’, after States’ members approved a ‘quick-win, temporary solution’ to boost the island’s air links.
The requete was led by former pilot Jan Kuttelwascher and asked for a change to the runway end safety areas.
This would increase the available length for landing and take-off from 1,463 metres to 1,570, allowing an Airbus A319 to operate here, if it is deemed safe by the director of civil aviation.
It was approved by 35 votes to two.
‘I am offering an interim solution pending what is going to be delivered by PwC [in a review of air and sea links] with some immediate benefits,’ said Deputy Kuttelwascher.
‘All that report will do is come back with recommendations as to what could be done but nothing more than that.
‘That won’t come back until next summer and it will cost a lot of money. If States members want to they will be able to bin it.
‘What I am proposing is something that could happen very quickly, it could happen [the investigation] in a few weeks. Here is a possible quick win, why wouldn’t you want to do it?’
Economic Development will be bringing its air and sea links strategy to the States by the end of the year.
President Charles Parkinson and vice-president Dawn Tindall voted for the requete, but only after saying it initiated an ‘unnecessary duplication’ of work already being done by consultant PwC.
‘This debate is frankly premature, we are discussing what the solutions might be without identifying what the requirements are,’ said Deputy Parkinson.
He said the strength of the whole length of the runway would need to be upgraded before an Airbus A319 could land regularly.
Deputy Kuttelwascher said that was true if it was operating at full capacity.
‘But for the operations we have, we will not be having maximum weights,’ he replied.
Deputy Tindall said the exact wording of the requete would be dealt with as part of the PwC review.
Policy & Resources president Deputy Gavin St Pier said the committee supported the requete unanimously.
‘We want the STSB to stop looking for scapegoats for not doing their job.’
Deputy Richard Graham said the States was ‘talking itself into paralysis’ and called for members to take action and approve the requete, in a speech that was met with applause from colleagues.
Deputy David de Lisle said other airports had the proposed safety areas.
‘So why shouldn’t we at the east end?’ he asked.
‘Any lengthening of the runway will take years to accomplish with planning application, environmental impact assessments and at a cost of £20m.
‘We need to look at this right away and accomplish what we can immediately with what we have got.’
States’ Trading Supervisory Board president Peter Ferbrache said the public was fed up of reports and reviews instead of action, which the requete instructed.
[The States] needs to be telling the people out there that we are actually going to do something.’