Alderney officials herald vote to spend to extend runway

ALDERNEY politicians and the island’s Chamber of Commerce have heralded the States of Guernsey’s decision to extend its runway and redevelop the island’s airport as an opportunity for growth.

Alderney Policy & Finance chairman Ian Carter. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31581550)
Alderney Policy & Finance chairman Ian Carter. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31581550)

On Friday the States voted 22-14 in favour of Option C+, which carries an expected £24m. price tag. It means that larger aircraft will be able to land in the island.

Policy & Finance Committee president Ian Carter, who viewed proceedings from the public gallery in the Royal Court building, said the vote was ‘a reflection of our Bailiwick identity’.

‘It shows the way our community has been recognised by the States of Guernsey as being worth investing in,’ he said.

Mr Carter said that the development of the ‘Bailiwick identity’ would now ‘happen much more quickly than it was going to happen anyway’.

‘Investment in the island will happen as people will now see that that connectivity is there. It is ready for use.’

Alderney representative Alex Snowdon said that Option C+ was the ‘best option presented’.

‘Any other option in my view would have cost a lot more money and I think common sense kicked in. We got to the right decision in the end.

‘This is going to be really good for Alderney but even more importantly for the Bailiwick and Guernsey.’

The Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the vote.

‘Our main thrust all along has been not for ourselves, but for the future of our island relating to economic stability and growth,’ said president Andrew Eggleston.

‘There have been some of mature years not wishing for change, that have been supported by some who do not live here and, surprisingly, by several private aviators.

‘But almost all within the Alderney Chamber of Commerce, having a representation of about 25% of the island’s population, along with so many others who are committed to the island, have been adamant from the outset that we must look to the future. There has been no other option.’

Mr Eggleston said the community feared that with its current 877m runway, the island could have been left with no connectivity in years to come, which would trigger ‘catastrophic’ economic decline, population decrease, and cause the island to fall back financially on Guernsey.

‘It is paramount for us to keep and attract younger people to the island. To accomplish that, we need a sound employment and job structure – and to accomplish that, we need a sound air transport structure.

‘Our aim is to be a more competent, self-sufficient island, standing on its own feet to a greater degree as the time progresses.

‘None of us has any idea as to where aviation will be in 10, 20 or 30 years time, but to remain in the present – which is the past as from tomorrow – at 877 metres, will surely not attract interest from alternative carriers.

‘Our simplistic aim has been to future-proof Alderney for the coming years and generations. This has now been achieved.’

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