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Runway extension taken off the agenda for this political term

News | Published:

NOTHING more can be done during the lifetime of this States towards extending the airport runway, States' Trading Supervisory Board president Peter Ferbrache told members yesterday.

STSB president Deputy Peter Ferbrache, left, and STSB member Jan Kuttelwascher.

His committee had proposed not investigate extending the runway within the airport's boundaries any further having been directed to look at the option.

Members backed the report by 28 votes to 2, with Deputies Gollop and De Lisle against.

But long time campaigner Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher can still see a way forward to an extension to 1,700m

Deputy Shane Langlois referred members to his speech against the requete that had led to the report being prepared, and said that while he did not wish to say 'I told you so', it was time that States members and those standing for election next year, accepted that Guernsey was a turbo-prop size island – accommodating jets with similar landing and take-off characteristics like the Embraer 196 – and do away with the 'wishful thinking' of a runway extension.

Industry disagreed with all six of the points made by the Director of Civil Aviation Dominic Lazarus in his comment on the Jacobs report into the possibility of a runway extension, said Deputy David de Lisle.

He said he had been in contact with a company that had installed 115 Engineered Material Arresting Systems – Emas – beds at airports around the world and in its opinion Guernsey airport could take an Emas of 90m. This would not compromise on safety, as feared by Mr Lazarus, but would actually improve it.

His comments were echoed by Deputy Kuttelwascher.

Option two in the Jacobs report was safer than what the island had now. It suggested using an Emas installation, creating a 120m length, but with the retention of the required 60m strip end it would provide only an extension of 78m.

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The effect would be creating a usable runway of 1,541m rather than 1,570.

Deputy Kuttelwascher, who led the requete calling for the report, said he did not think it would be value for money to do what needed to be done to achieve this.

He took issue with comments made by the DCA: 'The only conclusion you can come to is that the DCA will not accept the use of Emas to extend or recommission the runway length.'

He said he would support both propositions since it allowed for a way forward, ideally for the idea of a 1,700m runway to be looked at despite members rejecting a proposal from Policy & Resources earlier this year not to prepare a business case to look at extending the runway to between 1,700m and 1,800m.

There were 10 absentees when the vote was taken.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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