Guernsey Press

Airport could be reconfigured to create more space inside

GUERNSEY airport could be re-configured to create more space airside.

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STSB members face the Scrutiny Management Committee yesterday. Simon Thornton (second left), Stuart Falla and Deputy Peter Roffey are flanked by senior staff Alastair Ford (left) and Simon Elliott. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31293140)

At a Scrutiny Management hearing with members of the States' Trading Supervisory Board, Deputy John Dyke questioned what was to be done to improve the airport, which he said was looking scruffy and shabby.

STSB non-States member Stuart Falla said these issues went back to the original design of the building, but changes were being made to make it more fit for purpose.

‘The construction and design is awful – I don’t understand why the previous Board of Administration got an architect who had never designed an airport before to design it,’ said Mr Falla.

Deputy Dyke referred to rusty metal work, missing panels and the Covid partition still being in place.

‘The issue is we don’t make a surplus, the only way we can make a surplus is by overcharging,’ Mr Falla said.

‘But there is a balance between what you charge and what is good for the economy. In one way, we operate the airport with one hand tied behind our back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve things.’

A ‘master plan’ for the airport, drawn up by Aecom, is currently under way, with the aim of maximising the value of the site.

‘We are close to making decisions on certain things, one of which will include the reconfiguration of parts of the airport. We have got a relatively small amount of space airside and a plethora landside, and it should be the other way round. When you get the airport full in departures it is crammed, but on the landside you find a few people having coffee upstairs,’ said Mr Falla.

However the building would need to be redesigned for the work to go ahead.

‘That will mean investment of money and at some stage we have to make a good business case for injection of capital.’

Deputy Dyke asked whether there was enough money in the budget to make minor repairs and cosmetic changes.

‘You have got to remember the airport is scarce of funding,’ said STSB managing director Simon Elliott.

‘We have around £11m. in forecast revenue against an operating loss of £3.5m. It has to spend money on aviation safety and meeting regulations – the last thing we can afford is having an airport not working.’