Alderney residents see the poor state of runway for themselves

THE extension of Alderney’s airport runway is moving a step closer following an opportunity for islanders to check out its condition.

An open meeting was held for Alderney residents regarding the future of the island’s airport. More than 100 islanders attended. (31084065)
An open meeting was held for Alderney residents regarding the future of the island’s airport. More than 100 islanders attended. (31084065)

More than 100 people viewed the deterioration of the runway, which was last resurfaced in 1999, with an approximate design life of 20 years.

It seems that the States of Guernsey and Alderney are reaching agreement over pursuing Option C+, the most expensive of all the options, with associated improvements to the airport terminal, and a policy letter is expected to go to the States of Guernsey for a decision on funding later this year. Work could then start next year.

The public session was an opportunity for islanders to go out on the runway to better appreciate the scale of the works that will be involved in widening and resurfacing the runway in its full length, as well as any potential extension.

Alderney authorities say Option C+ would ‘future-proof’ the island with a longer runway and benefit multiple sectors, offering the possibility of an estimated 20,000 extra seats each year.

‘The infrastructure of the extended runway and improved airport would enable the vision to be achieved as it gives flexibility and greater attractiveness for a future where aviation is key, but its form is not defined,’ said Ian Carter, chairman of the island’s Policy & Finance Committee.

P&F has publicly expressed its support for Option C+, deeming it to be the catalyst for vital business and healthcare links, including a dedicated medevac service for the island.

The States’ Trading Supervisory Board and Guernsey Ports is also anticipating Option C+ to offer the best value for money over a 15 to 20-year lifespan, with the opportunity to achieve savings over time.

‘We have been evaluating different long-term options. They all involve rebuilding, widening, and possibly strengthening the existing asphalt runway, taxiway and apron; improving drainage; and replacing and upgrading key systems, such as the airfield ground lighting,’ said chief operating officer of Guernsey Ports, Ross Coppolo.

‘As well as addressing its current condition, the work is likely to improve operational performance, reducing the potential for disruption to schedules.’

It would mean the runway would be strengthened and extended to accommodate larger aircraft, while a new terminal would be built and the airport fire station refurbished.

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