Vital that States moves forward with runway analysis, says pilot
A LOCAL architect and pilot wants the States to push forward with plans to extend the runway and has drawn up his own proposal on how it could be achieved using less land than currently earmarked.
Policy & Resources has said it does not want any more taxpayers’ money spent on investigating the possibility, but has yet to publish the PwC report on which it has based its conclusion.
That will go to the States with P&R’s recommendation shortly.
Pilot Rob Le Page has more than 3,000 hours of flying experience and is keen to see Guernsey’s Airport improved. He noted that the States has recognised for 20 years that the runway needed work. In a letter sent to all deputies, he laid out his concerns.
‘The most recent and much-delayed PwC report is incomplete,’ he said.
‘It is imperative that the States of Guernsey must be encouraged to get it completed and for it to be published in full.’
Mr Le Page said the PwC work was split into two main phases.
The first part looks at the main options and background considerations – this is the stage that has been done.
The second part, which P&R does not want to fund, would take about four months to complete and would look at costings and benefits of options.
P&R vice-president Lyndon Trott said: ‘The P&R committee is recommending no further taxpayer money is used on this work, but it will be a decision for the States of Deliberation if it wants to spend further taxpayers’ money on this.’
Mr Le Page said it was vital proper funding was put towards the work and that the first part of the report was published in full.
‘It is imperative that the States of Guernsey agree to provide proper funding for the PwC report part B and for it to be completed as soon as possible, so as to produce a proper business case evaluation with costs and benefits of alternative ways of achieving the runway extension, as it will be for the benefit of the whole island,’ he said.
Mr Le Page would like to see the runway lengthened, as it would reduce airline costs and mean larger planes could operate to and from the island.
He said that a 1,700-metre runway was needed to deal with Guernsey’s crosswinds. While this could be done within the existing airport boundary, the runway end safety area – or Resa – would go into the valley at the eastern end of the runway.
However, if the States decided to use Emas – lightweight, crushable concrete blocks, which would slow down an overrunning plane more quickly – it would only take up half the valley.