‘Failure to extend Alderney runway will damage credibility’

IF GUERNSEY’S States fails to approve proposals to extend Alderney’s runway and rebuild the airport terminal, the Bailiwick’s credibility could be seriously damaged, a group of prominent business people have said in a letter to the Guernsey Press.

Work begins work repairing Alderney's runway in July.
Work begins work repairing Alderney's runway in July.

‘Alderney is a valuable asset to the Bailiwick and deserves our support,’ write the group of seven, which includes Terra Firma CEO Guy Hands, Hand Picked Hotels chairwoman Julia Hands and Alderney’s Blonde Hedgehog Group owner Julie Anne Uggla.

All have business interests in the island.

‘We are some of the recent few who have shown enough confidence in the sister island to substantially invest and establish new businesses,’ they said.

Their letter points out that in the business case it states that if the runway is not long enough to accommodate the proposed fleet of planes to be operated by Aurigny, then it might end up with no operator at all, and the group said that the airline market for both manufacturers and operators of planes with 19 or few seats is very limited.

‘They are not profitable on a stand-alone basis and very few, unless heavily subsidised to the tune of £5-6m. per annum, are interested.’

In addition, they said that the real additional cost to the States of Guernsey is £8.5m., not £24m. as is being claimed by some, since £12m. had already been agreed and Alderney will pay £3.5m. towards the cost through a treasury loan.

It was likely that the island’s airport would be subject to more regulatory requirements from the Civil Aviation Authority in the not-too-distant future and all of these would be covered by the proposed refurbishment and expansion programme.

‘If Alderney financially fails, the real cost to the Bailiwick will far outweigh the sums involved in this project,’ they said.

It was possible that the Ministry of Justice could get involved, too, and that would seriously damage credibility in the offshore industry.

‘A reliably connected Alderney will mean a wealthier Alderney,’ said the group, and urged the States to pass the favoured proposition.

Signatories

The letter is signed by: Guy Hands, CEO of Terra Firma Capital Partners, Julia Hands, chairwoman of Hand Picked Hotels, Gavin Rihoy, managing director of J Rihoy Ltd, Martin Belcher, chairman of Polygon Collective, Penny Ball, chairwoman of The Fort Group, Julie Anne Uggla, owner of The Blonde Hedgehog Group, and Holly Fisher, chairwoman of The Georgian House Group

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