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Runway chance takes off

Runway chance takes off

Thursday 28 November 2019

Runway chance takes off

If you're bored of hearing about the length of Guernsey's runway, you better book some time off island next year.

The States will be discussing the benefits of extending it, once a business case and cost benefit analysis have been prepared, after a requête lodged by former pilot, Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher, was backed by half of the current assembly.

The requête asked the States to:

  • To direct the Committee for Economic Development to present a business case and cost benefit analysis for the extension of the runway at Guernsey Airport to achieve a length of at least 1,700m.
  • To agree that this work should be completed by May 2020.

20 deputies voted in favour of the proposals, with 19 voting against the idea, meaning the Committee for Economic Development has to do the work, before May 2020.

That date is key, as the island goes to the polls in June next year, meaning the possibility of extending the runway will either be one of the very last things debated by our current government, or one of the first items on the agenda for those elected on an island wide basis in a few months.

airport runway

Pictured: The runway could be extended to 1,700m if a business case and cost benefit analysis are approved by the States next summer. 

The President of Economic Development, Deputy Charles Parkinson, whose committee now has to do the work, said:

"...there are examples of other communities, comparable to Guernsey, which have longer runways, and which seem to be doing better in terms of passenger numbers. 

"A strong example would be the Isle of Man, which extended its runway in 2009 and has adopted an open skies policy and since then...the numbers travelling to and from the Isle of Man have increased significantly during a period when the passenger numbers at Guernsey Airport have been falling.

"I think that in, and of itself begs the question, does this not need looking into? There must be some explanation why Guernsey Airport has been losing passenger numbers and yet the Isle of Man which now has an extended runway has been increasing passenger numbers and all the requête is asking to have done is to have some work done to see if that is the case."

The requête was lodged by Deputy Kuttelwascher with the backing of deputies Peter Ferbrache, Jeremy Smithies, Joseph Mooney, Marc Leadbeater, Jennifer Merrett and Victoria Oliver.

Deputy Kuttelwascher knew his proposal was getting some States support, but said who was supporting it was important too. Before the vote it became apparent that both the majority of Economic Development, and the States Trading Supervisory Board, which oversees the airport, were going to vote Pour.

They did, with the requête winning by 20 votes to 19.

A budget of £360,000 will now be set aside to fund the work on the business case and cost benefit analysis with P&R giving ED the money to do the research.

Pictured top: Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher, who led the requête on extending the runway. 

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