Throw out this idea of extending the runway

I AM concerned about the recent articles in the Press concerning requests to lengthen the runway. While I am all for spending money on infrastructure, especially now, and to help the tourist industry in particular, I cannot see how lengthening the runway, to allow low cost airlines to bring in large aircraft, is going to help. If these airlines do come in with large capacity aircraft, then I can’t see them offering us the same frequency of flights to our main destination airports. Where we have several flights a day at the moment, we may well only have one a day, or only every few days, depending on the number of passengers. This will make connections in the UK for onward travel so much more difficult, thus more frequent night stops.

If these airlines undercut Aurigny, and the government is unable to subsidise it any longer, then it could put Aurigny out of business. This year we have seen just how much we have depended on our own airline, so cannot allow this to happen, especially as it is quite likely that when passenger numbers drop in the winter these low cost airlines could withdraw the flights and we will be left with no air travel at all.

Another problem, which has only been very lightly touched upon, is what effect it could have closer to home. There was an article sometime ago stating that if the runway were to be extended then there would be the loss of something like three to four houses (I do not know exactly which ones) and ‘filling in a dip’. As the runway can now only be extended to the east, it would mean that ‘the dip’ refers to Route des Blicqs, so not only would we lose La Villiaze Road (the road around the back of the airport), but also Les Blicqs. Residents in the area of the Farmhouse wishing to go to the airport would then be forced to drive all the way out to St Peter’s, only to double back along Route de Plaisance, Route de Farras and Rue des Landes – not at all convenient and certainly not environmentally friendly due to the extra travel. The same would apply to shoppers wishing to use the Forest Stores who, by the time they arrived in St Peter’s would possibly choose to use the shop there and not go back to the Forest Stores.

It would also affect residents in other parts of the island who use Les Blicqs to access the airport. Another inconvenience for those living behind the airport and in St Andrew’s would be access to St Martin’s, which would only be along La Vassalerie or La Brigade Road, neither of these roads is suitable for the extra traffic that would be generated from the closure of Les Blicqs. On top of that, something that has not been mentioned and perhaps may not be a problem, but should be investigated is that with the longer runway, the approach will also be extended, so could the water tower in St Martin’s be in the way?

I would really encourage all those in government to consider these implications and once and for all throw out this idea of extending the runway. If you want to boost the tourist industry then make the island more attractive to visitors – not only things to do but some lower cost accommodation, not always trying to attract the wealthy. Due to Covid-19 we could be THE destination once travel restrictions are lifted, so make deals with hotels and flights to encourage visitors – more visitors, more income for Aurigny and maybe lower fares.

MRS C. BABBE,

Address withheld.

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