Guernsey Press

£24m. refurbishment plan for Alderney Airport is tabled

A £24M. proposed refurbishment of Alderney Airport has been tabled, with both islands set to foot the bill.

Alderney Airport. (31336658)

The joint policy letter from Policy & Resources and the States’ Trading Supervisory Board has backed Option C+, which would see the resurfacing, widening, extending and strengthening of the existing asphalt runway, as well as the construction of a new terminal and refurbishment of the airport fire station.

The expected cost is much higher than the £12m. the States agreed in 2019 to resurface and widen the runway, but these proposals are set to go much further.

P&R and STSB have stated that the additional cost could be offset by operational savings, so the more comprehensive development represented better value in the long term.

It would also help to have more resilient air links and a full medical evacuation capability.

P&R president Deputy Peter Ferbrache said both islands were part of the Bailiwick and the interests of the two communities were closely interlinked.

‘Our air links provide a vital lifeline, and this investment in Alderney Airport will safeguard its key connection to the rest of the Bailiwick and to the outside world, which are crucial to the island’s continued prosperity and wellbeing and our shared financial resilience given the anticipated significant reduction in the cost of the PSO to Guernsey taxpayers,’ he said.

In the policy letter Alderney’s Policy & Finance chairman Ian Carter said his committee was pleased to explore options and look into making a financial contribution.

‘The Policy & Finance Committee believes that the Airport Rehabilitation Project is the most important Alderney infrastructure project to be considered since the breakwater in the 19th Century, and the eventual outcome will have a material effect on how Alderney develops in the decades ahead in terms of its level and rate of economic recovery,’ he said.

The States of Guernsey is being asked to agree to the proposed refurbishment, subject to agreement with the States of Alderney on its contribution to the costs.

How those costs will be divided had not been agreed yet. If an agreement is not reached, the matter will come back to the States.

At present, air services to and from Alderney are subsidised by the States of Guernsey under a Public Service Obligation contract, at a cost of around £2m. a year.

However that subsidy could be reduced by about £800,000 a year by operating larger aircraft, which requires a longer runway.

The cost of replacing the terminal and refurbishing the fire station has been estimated to be around £4.5m. if done separately.

Under the proposals, Options C+ would replace the previously-agreed runway refurbishment as the preferred scheme.

STSB president Peter Roffey said the runway was last resurfaced more than 20 years ago.

‘Despite considerable remedial works in recent years, its condition has gradually deteriorated to the point where it now requires major works, and urgently,’ he said.