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Press Release - Aviation Fuelling update - Updated 12th Jan 2016

James Lancaster, Managing Director, AEL 4th January 2016

Update below issued at the request of CEO, States of Alderney.

Long term position - in March 2015 AEL sought clarification from Guernsey Airport on the status of aviation fuelling at Alderney Airport.  States members were advised that AEL was fuelling at Alderney Airport on an interim basis, outside of any contractual arrangement with Guernsey Airport.  It was reconfirmed that there was no commercial rationale and no detailed plan for capital investment.

The fact that this situation had been allowed to persist for over 10 years has little bearing, it being clear that the situation could not persist further and that steps needed to be taken to place matters on a long-term sustainable basis.  To clarify the position AEL gave notice to Guernsey Airport of the cessation of aviation fuelling operations after Easter 2016.  This gave Guernsey Airport one year to identify an suitably qualified supplier or, failing that, to decide on the long term future of fuelling at Alderney Airport.

Guernsey Airport issued a call for expressions of interest in taking on Alderney Airport's fuelling during December.  The call closing date is this coming Friday, 8th January.  Resolution of this matter rests with the Guernsey Airport authorities.

Short Term

AvGas - service continues unaffected.

JetA1 - AEL now have testing and fuelling equipment and a supply of Jet fuel on island.

Guernsey Airport have flagged up a series of issues following review of the revised procedures manual.  These issues arise with the proposal to introduce of a second fuel type.  They relate to the level of procedural detail, training and certification required at both individual and organisational level in order to dispense both fuel types safely, minimising the risk of incident.

To date the operation has been managed at the level of the individual operators.  We rely on their skills and experience to ensure that the aviation fuel service is delivered in line with the procedures laid down with minimal oversight.  With a single fuel type this has been acceptable.

A second fuel type introduces additional complexity, for example the possibility of dispensing the wrong fuel type.  Additionally Jet fuel is more "sensitive" and needs to be checked and monitored more carefully.

The approach we have taken is in-line with the temporary nature of the operation and, we believe, in line with typical operations at a small airfield with a balance of GA and commercial activity as opposed to an airport with primary commercial traffic.  For the moment Guernsey have set the bar nearer to the latter which moves the onus away from the individual operator responsibility and places more emphasis "organisational" certification and procedure.

AEL is not an aviation fuelling specialist, so we are now having to work through the implications of Guernsey's response, drawing on the expertise of aviation fuelling specialists to understand what can be done in the short term. Longer term, anything is possible.

 

Neil Harvey, Chairman of Policy and Finance Committee, said: "We should like to clarify that the States of Alderney has no intention of allowing AVgas supplies at the airport to lapse. In so far as the airport is the responsibility of the States of Guernsey we believe they too have a role to play in maintaining this basic service, and we are pleased therefore that they have now advertised a possible concession for fuel supply, as they do at Guernsey airport. However should there be no appropriately qualified applicant for the concession, AEL, supported by the States of Alderney is expected to make the necessary infrastructure investment to supply aviation fuel efficiently and effectively for the future.

The value of General Aviation to Alderney's economy is well understood and appreciated."