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Deputy wants Guernsey runway debated ahead of Alderney runway

Deputy wants Guernsey runway debated ahead of Alderney runway

Friday 25 November 2022

Deputy wants Guernsey runway debated ahead of Alderney runway

Friday 25 November 2022

The States will be asked to complete an ongoing investigation into whether Guernsey's runway should be extended before voting on proposals to spend £24million on Alderney airport.

The States’ Trading Supervisory Board and the Policy & Resources Committee are advising the States to extend Alderney's runway by at least 170 metres as well as widening and refurbishing it and constructing a new terminal building to replace the current one built in 1968.

Debate on the proposals - submitted jointly by the States’ Trading Supervisory Board and the Policy & Resources Committee - was due to start on Friday morning but was delayed by a major failure of the States' IT system. It was later deferred until the next States' meeting, which starts on 14 December.  

During their lunch adjournment on Friday, States' members received notice of a sursis motivé to be proposed by Deputy Yvonne Burford, pictured top, and seconded by Deputy Heidi Soulsby. 

A sursis motivé is a motion to defer debate on an item until further work has been carried out. In this case, Deputies Burford and Soulsby want to put off debate on Alderney's airport, pictured top, until the States have decided whether to extend Guernsey's runway.

Deputy Burford, a former commercial pilot, said that her sursis motivé was required so that decisions involving tens of millions of pounds were made in the correct order and to avoid commitments to spend large sums of money on projects which could quickly become unnecessary.


Pictured: Aurigny is backing proposals to extend Alderney's runway, partly because it wants to streamline its fleet of aircraft and fly larger ATR72 planes into Alderney.

Deputy Burford said: "The entire case for the proposed runway extension in Alderney hinges on the fact that the States own Aurigny, and Aurigny operate ATR72 aircraft on its regional network.

"The Committee for Economic Development is currently under resolution to bring a policy letter on the possible extension of Guernsey’s runway. It has been suggested in many quarters, including by the President of Economic Development, that an extension of Guernsey’s runway would likely result in Aurigny becoming uneconomic.

"It is clear that no other airline based outside of the Channel Islands will find it remotely economic to operate two routes out of Alderney, irrespective of the Alderney runway length, and therefore the fate of Guernsey’s runway and, by extension, Aurigny, must sensibly be debated before a decision is made on whether to lengthen Alderney’s runway."

The Committee for Economic Development's work on whether to extend Guernsey's runway is months behind schedule.

A year ago, the Committee's President, Deputy Neil Inder, told a public scrutiny hearing that "what will be placed in front of the States in May or June [2022] will be a real, honest assessment of the benefits of extending that runway".

But the Committee has not yet published a report or a policy letter or made recommendations to the States' Assembly. Any debate on Guernsey's runway is now unlikely to be held until February 2023 at the earliest.


Pictured: The States are awaiting a much-delayed policy letter from the Committee for Economic Development on whether it recommends extending the length of Guernsey's airport.

Deputy Burford also wants the debate on Alderney's airport to be preceded by a thorough investigation into whether an inter-island network of flights could be provided more efficiently without the proposed £24m project in Alderney.  

"No serious consideration has been given to the possibility of making the Guernsey-Jersey route a lifeline route and re-establishing a full inter-island network, including Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney as well as Alderney-Southampton, to be operated by an established Guernsey- or Jersey-based operator on aircraft that can utilise the existing runway length in Alderney," said Deputy Burford.

"This should also be undertaken before committing to the propositions in this policy letter [to extend Alderney's runway]."


Pictured: Proposals to extend Alderney's runway are being led by Deputy Peter Ferbrache (left) on behalf of the Policy & Resources Committee and Deputy Peter Roffey (right) on behalf of the States' Trading Supervisory Board.

Deputy Burford's sursis motivé is likely to be strongly opposed by the States' Trading Supervisory Board, the majority but not all members of the Policy & Resources Committee, and politicians in Alderney. 

Alderney Representative Alex Snowdon told Express that the proposals to refurbish and extend Alderney’s runway "feel like a win-win situation" and should quickly be supported by deputies.

"The airport refurbishment and extension project are absolutely essential to future-proofing the island and importantly reducing aviation costs and, therefore, saving money in the medium and long term," said Mr Snowdon.


Alderney agrees runway project funding

Extending runway "win-win" - but P&R split on £24m scheme

Alderney runway policy letter expected by end of year

FOCUS: Debate on runway extension coming to the boil

Alderney public visit runway

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Posted by edward hill on
Another delay to stop works on a crumbling runway. I hope the deputies that go ahead with this delaying request are aware that the deputies could be held personally liable if there is an accident as a result of a runway failure. They have been told, warned and made fully aware of the situation and there will be nowhere for them to legally hide.
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