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Runway extension idea could be scrapped by States this week

Runway extension idea could be scrapped by States this week

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Runway extension idea could be scrapped by States this week

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Deputies opposed to extending Guernsey's runway will make an audacious bid to scrap the idea once and for all at this week's States' meeting.

They first want to overturn a States' direction which currently requires the Committee for Economic Development to present a policy letter on whether to extend Guernsey's runway. Then they want the States to vote decisively not to progress an extension.

The move is being led by Deputies Lindsay de Sausmarez and Jonathan Le Tocq, pictured top.

Express understands they have the support of a larger group of deputies who want to bring the long-running extension debate to a conclusion before the end of the year.

Their plan to scrap work on whether to extend Guernsey's runway is contained in a late amendment submitted alongside proposals to extend Alderney's runway which are on the agenda for the States' meeting which started this morning.

They may still need the Assembly's permission to debate and vote on their plan if the Bailiff is asked to rule that their amendment goes further than the proposals on Alderney's runway.


Pictured: Public and political debate about the pros and cons of extending Guernsey's runway has spanned several States' terms.

Deputies de Sausmarez and Le Tocq briefly set out their arguments in an explanatory note attached to their amendment.

"The policy letter’s primary recommendation to extend the Alderney airport runway is based partly on the financial savings that could be achieved by Aurigny in doing so," they said.

"A subsequent decision by the States to extend the Guernsey runway in order to facilitate the introduction of a low-cost carrier would have a very significant impact on Aurigny’s operational model and would severely curtail its revenue potential. This would retrospectively undermine the case for the Alderney runway.

"This amendment seeks to rescind the relevant propositions directing the Committee for Economic Development to bring a policy letter to the States in order to address this otherwise problematic sequence of decision-making.

"By resolving not to progress an extension to Guernsey’s runway, it would provide assurance during this debate on the Alderney runway that the financial logic that underpins the case made by the sponsoring committees will not be later undermined by a decision brought about by these extant resolutions."

The amendment from Deputies de Sausmarez and Le Tocq goes further than a motion already submitted by Deputies Yvonne Burford and Heidi Soulsby which, if approved, would defer a decision on the future of Alderney's runway until the States have decided whether or not to extend Guernsey's runway.


Pictured: The members of the Committee for Economic Development are understood to be divided on whether to recommend extending Guernsey's runway, but they will have the issue taken out of their hands if the States back an amendment to scrap their work and ditch the idea of an extension. 

The Committee for Economic Development is months behind schedule on a States' direction to present a business case and cost-benefit analysis for the extension of the runway from its present length of 1,463 metres to a length of at least 1,700 metres. 

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".

In September, Deputy Inder told the States that his Committee still had further work to do before it could report to the Assembly in quarter one or quarter two of 2023.

That was before publication of advice from York Aviation, a firm of aviation specialists, that a runway extension was likely to damage the island's air links with key destinations and cost the States tens of millions of pounds a year in lost income.

But the Committee's lead member for tourism, Deputy Simon Vermeulen, told Express  - in an article published today - that he remains committed to an extension and pointed to other consultants' advice which suggested that lengthening the runway could lead to more visitors and significantly benefit the economy.

"I have been a supporter of extending the runway for some 23 years now and remain 100% supportive of the project and creating lower fares and more growth on passengers," said Deputy Vermeulen.


Runway extension idea still alive inside Economic Development

Aviation specialists reach damning conclusions on runway extension

"Guernsey's air strategy is being dictated by the needs of an airline"

Deputy wants Guernsey runway debated ahead of Alderney runway

Runway report delayed by months - but Committee won't say why

Presidents at odds over latest attempt to extend runway

Aurigny could survive if Guernsey's runway is extended

Independent report supports runway extension

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