Alderney people back longer runway, new terminal option

LENGTHENING Alderney’s runway and rebuilding and re-organising the airport terminal building would future-proof the facilities, said many of those who attended a drop-in session to see the plans in the island this week.

Islanders and Alderney States members were able to meet representatives of Guernsey Ports and Aurigny and see plans for the various options as well as hearing an explanation of them.

Three choices have been outlined, all of which involved reconstructing and resurfacing the existing 877m runway.

Option A is only to widen the runway to 23m; option B is to realign a taxiway and widen the runway to 23m ‘with improved runway geometry’; while option C proposes extending the runway to 1,050m and widening it to 23m.

Option C adds the building of a new terminal plus refurbishment of the fire station.

Guernsey Ports managing director Colin Le Ray was ‘surprised and delighted’ at the level of interest shown by islanders and said two main themes had come to the fore.

Three-year-old Brodi Pepper loves flying in the Dorniers and wants to be a pilot. He gave a thumbs-up to the plans and said he wanted to fly in a big Aurigny plane one day. He is watched by his granny Louise Bowman, left, and Alderney States member Annie Burgess, who chairs the Economic Development Committee.

‘One is around the runway extension option, which we are now proposing should be included when we go out to tender for all of the schemes later on this year, and perhaps as a result of that particular scheme what that might mean to the schedules and to the PSO agreements that Aurigny are undertaking on behalf of the States of Guernsey.’

The full package of measures, option C, had a lot of support.

Doug White said Alderney needed this to ensure a viable future for the island. The runway has to be made longer and wider and the 56-year-old terminal – the same age as he is – had to be replaced,’ he said.

Alderney and Guernsey States member Steve Roberts favours option C, and said there was ‘no alternative’. He also wanted the runway widened to 30m to improve cross-wind stability and save disruption.

‘It would be pivotal in rebuilding our economy and offers massive potential to improve our air connectivity.’

Fellow States member Alex Snowdon agreed that option C was essential for the island’s future and would offer big cost savings in the long-run.

‘Hopefully it will reduce the outgoings for Guernsey of the public service obligation.’

The support of Guernsey Ports and Aurigny would reassure islanders that they were serious about improving the island’s transport links, he said, and he welcomed the outcome of the report from the States’ Trading Supervisory Board.

Pilot Dave Chiswell, who runs the Alderney Flying Club, asked several pointed questions because he favoured more frequent flights and smaller planes.

But after hearing the long-term benefits and cost savings of the full package, he said it sounded as though option C was the most viable plan to follow in the long run.

Richard Proctor, former manager of the Braye Beach Hotel, said option C was the only way forward to improve flexibility for the hospitality industry and the island should invest now. A wider, longer runway and a new terminal were essential.

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