As debate hots up on the long-promised redevelopment of Alderney's airport and its runway in particular, one former politician and pilot has warned that many people in the island do not believe a word they are being told.
Ralph Burridge has shared the below letter, and the two attachments shared beneath the letter, with Express. It is reproduced entirely and is in his own words.
Pictured: A recent public visit to the runway to see the extent of the issues facing the island's airport.
Dear States of Guernsey Deputy,
Being fully aware that this e-mail and attachments (below) will be received by all States Deputies, whether they support the proposed re-development of Alderney airfield or not, I feel that it is essential to get the message across that whatever the Bailiwick politicians who support the development proposals might say – the majority of Alderney residents do not believe a word of what they are being ‘sold’, when it comes to the need to develop Alderney Airport, in line with Option C+.
At present it is not possible to disseminate any objective criticism, as since last July, our only local publication has refused to print any submissions that are critical of, or in opposition to, the development of Alderney Airport. We find their decision abhorrent and against the basic press principle of maintaining freedom. of speech and opinion. However, being a private enterprise and not having the equivalent of the press Complaints Commission to whom we can appeal, there is nothing we can do.
Our only hope is that by bringing the ‘other side of the coin’ to the attention of all Deputies, their sense of fairness will encourage them to read our submissions with an open mind.
In recent days we have seen a co-ordinated and concentrated issue of support documents issued by both Guernsey and Alderney politicians in support of the £24 million (we still believe that the final figure will be closer to £50 million) revamp of Alderney’s airfield, turning it into a level 2 airport. Not for the benefit of the populace of Alderney, but for the commercial benefit of the present incumbent carrier.
There is no doubt that Aurigny is an excellent level 2 (Regional) carrier, but like all airlines in the world, it needs access to the right aircraft and the correct management structure, to successfully operate the level 3 carrier operation that Alderney needs.
The process of upgrading a level 3 airfield, dealing with19 seat (or less) aircraft, up to a level 2 airport capable of servicing category 3C aircraft (ATR72-600), is very complex and may not be fully understood, even by those who are supporting the proposals.
However, as the ‘big guns’, led by Chief Minister Deputy Peter Ferbrache and President of the States Trading Supervisory Board, Deputy Peter Roffey are spearheading a drop-in meeting on Alderney on the 17th October to promote their proposals, we need to be able to make it abundantly clear to all Deputies, that there is a very strong and active opposition to their plans.
With so much Bailiwick taxpayers’ money being committed to such an unwarranted project, when the time comes for the vote to be taken, you will be better placed to make an informed decision.
I have attached two pdf files (below) that I hope will be of interest and that you will find time to read. If you would like to have a conversation about anything that you either don’t understand, or about which you feel you would like to know more, then please call me. (Numbers redacted from published version)