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‘Fog-busting’ ATRs would have helped last week – Aurigny

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FOG-BUSTING technology on the ATR aircraft it has on order would have reduced disruption last week, Aurigny has said.

One of the Aurigny ATRs which will be equipped with ClearVision being built in France.. It is set to be delivered in August.

‘Following a review of the weather data, which gives accurate readings on the fog density at the airport and on the runway touchdown point [on 29 and 30 May], we are optimistic that our new ATRs with ClearVision technology would have improved our operations,’ an Aurigny spokesman said.

Statistics show that there were two windows of opportunity on the Wednesday afternoon and evening, where the fog had lifted enough to enable the use of landing with ClearVision.

‘This would have meant aircraft may

have been in Guernsey on the Thursday morning, which would have greatly reduced the delays customers experienced,’ he said.

‘Likewise, operations on the Thursday would have resumed quicker if we had been operating with ClearVision technology as the visibility to land would have been achievable sooner.

‘In essence, if ClearVision was operational then we would have got more people to their destination on Wednesday and would have reduced the knock-on impact on Thursday.’

Aurigny said it remained confident in the decision to purchase the three new ATRs and hoped that when systems are in place it will reduce disruption and cost to the airline. The States backed the deal by guaranteeing a $60m. loan.

The Institute of Directors and Guernsey Chamber of Commerce said while periods of fog at some time or another during the year are a near certainty for Guernsey, the resultant disruption largely relates to the failure of the island to invest in suitable ground-based instrument landing systems to handle seasonal weather conditions.

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‘Following the recommendation by PwC for investigating potential runway extensions to 1,590m and 1,700m, we encourage Economic Development to evaluate an upgrade of low visibility capability as part of the cost-benefit analysis for an extension, allowing aircraft to operate during periods of low visibility,’ they said in a joint statement.

‘Such investment has the potential to reduce the economic, social and reputational damage to Guernsey from fog, as well as reducing the risk and cost for air operators providing services to the island.’

Aurigny said all operators would welcome an upgrade in the low visibility capability, which is achievable without a runway extension.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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