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Runway extension requête crash lands

Runway extension requête crash lands

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Runway extension requête crash lands


An investigation into extending Guernsey Airport's runway within its current boundaries by reducing the length of the safety areas has been completed, and the idea won't be taking off.

Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher's petition asked the States Trading and Supervisory Board to look into the idea and to then bring back proposals to the Assembly.

During that investigation, the Director of Civil Aviation Dominic Lazarus - the regulator for Guernsey - reviewed the proposals, and wrote a report for the General Manager of Ports, confirming that he could not support the current plans made in the requete. 

He said he "should not be sanctioning any erosion in available safety margins for purely commercial reasons".

Kuttelwascher, Gregson

Pictured: Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher, a former pilot, put together the requete. He is a long time supporter of extending the runway. 

In a new policy letter submitted by STSB, the board has asked the States to agree that no further work is 'carried out to assess the option to extend the runway within the current airport boundary', and to rescind the resolutions of the requete. 

The DCA's letter gave six reasons as to why he could not support the idea:

  • There is no safety gain, the proposals concentrate purely on commercial objectives.
  • A regulator should not sanction 'erosion' to safety margins.
  • The project does not align with the Department for Transport's policy in the UK and its standard practices. 
  • A 90m RESA would be a minimum requirement under the runways categorisation. 
  • The idea of using EMAS as an alternative safety system would still be a step down. In the UK it is only used when a 240m RESA cannot be achieved.
  • Guernsey does not really qualify for using EMAS because of the location of the airport. 

Mr Lazarus concluded: "I am responsible for air safety, unless the ICAO recommended requirements are met or unless there is a very good reason, supported by a compelling safety argument, that they cannot be met; I don’t think there is any case to allow this project."

airport runway

Pictured: Guernsey Airport. Image from the report. 

The policy letter explained the other elements of the review: "Jacobs [a company commissioned to write a report] was commissioned to undertake a RESA Risk Assessment Review and report on several potential options that would see an increase in the declared landing distance of the airport runway. Each solution involved a reduction in the length of the Runway End Safety Area. It concluded that option two, to utilise an EMAS bed RESA of 120m (instead of a 240m traditional RESA) was the best solution. This was rated as a ‘green’ risk in terms of an uncontained overrun incident risk. However, this option only provided a useable runway length of 1,541m which would not allow the economic benefits dependent on larger aircraft and payloads landing at Guernsey Airport. The economic benefits would be further weakened when taking into account the cost of installing and maintaining EMAS.

"The General Manager, Ports endorses the view of the DCA. The DCA did not support the findings of the report, as he did not believe he should sanction any erosion in available safety margins for purely commercial reasons. He states in his letter dated 8 July 2019 that: 'as I am responsible for air safety, unless the ICAO Recommended requirements are met or unless there is very good reason, supported by a compelling safety argument, that they cannot be met; I don’t think there is anycase to allow this project'."

To look at Jacob's full RESA risk assessment, click here. 

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