Cost benefit of longer runway will be given in report due soon

A KEY cost benefit analysis report into the proposed runway extension, which takes in the impact of Covid-19 on air travel, is almost complete.

Economic Development president Deputy Neil Inder. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29844167)
Economic Development president Deputy Neil Inder. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29844167)

Economic Development commissioned Frontier Economics to look again at all the options for the extension which would, at the least, lead to a runway length of at least 1,700 metres.

The new report will also detail options using an Engineered Material Arresting System (Emas) – a specially-installed surface which quickly stops any aircraft that moves onto it.

The initial reports by Frontier Economics were presented to the previous committee during 2020 and the committee has included the runway as a pipeline project in the States’ capital prioritisation process agreed by the States as part of the Government Work Plan debate.

But the GWP does not include funding for any extension of the runway during this political term.

If the States decided to support the extension, funding would either need to be reprioritised from other areas of the GWP or alternative sources would need to be considered.

‘The work to update last year’s Frontier Economics cost-benefit analysis in the light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on air travel is ongoing and nearing completion,’ Economic Development president Deputy Neil Inder said.

‘The committee was keen to provide an update ahead of the publication of its policy letter, in due course, but it has not reached a collective view at this stage and expects that a policy letter would recommend a preferred option should there be a business case to extend the runway. It would then be up to the States to determine whether this pipeline project should be prioritised and funded.’

Business groups urged to hold fire

Economic Development has urged business groups to hold off commenting on a runway extension until initial scoping works are completed.

It said it acknowledged the right of stakeholders to lobby to put forward a view.

‘However, the committee is content that at this stage the best approach is now to let the independent technical and economic experts complete their work so that it can be considered.’

It said that in response to one business representative which had made comments, it continued to do the work as it was following a States resolution, the work was within the committee’s mandate, it was engaging both within and outside the States, and officers were working under the direction of the committee.

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