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Press Release - Alderney's Runway Rehabilitation Project

For immediate release: 27th July 2016

The Policy & Finance Committee is pleased to report that good progress is being made with the authorities in Guernsey on the capital project involving the rehabilitation and future-proofing of Alderney's runway. While the project falls within the mandate and responsibilities of the States of Guernsey, Alderney is now represented on the Senior Project Board. Regular meetings are taking place to progress the work and develop it to the stage where a report can be submitted to, and debated by, the States of Deliberation in Guernsey. It is currently planned that this report will be considered by the States at one of their first meetings in 2017.

Guernsey's States Trading Supervisory Board recently held four Risk and Benefits Workshops in Alderney and Guernsey as part of developing the proposals for the project. The Workshop Groups were comprised as follows: -

  1. Technical Managers at Guernsey Airport;

  2. Alderney Politicians, Chamber of Commerce representatives and Senior Civil Servants;

  3. Aurigny Senior Managers; and

  4. Alderney-based General Aviation pilot representatives.

 

The purpose of these workshops was to explain, rank and prioritise as objectively as possible the investment objectives and the critical success factors for the project. This was done using a scoring mechanism against all seven of the identified options for the runway, ranging from do nothing (only used as a base option. It is neither a viable nor a realistic option!), through to reconstructing all the paved surfaces and widening the runway to 23 m, along with improved runway lighting and more efficient drainage. The highest option considered involved extending the asphalt runway to 1100 metres, and increasing the width to 30 metres to accommodate larger General Aviation (GA) and Commercial Aircraft (up to 40 seaters). This option would also consider the merits and demerits of constructing using either concrete or asphalt.

While the results of the workshops have yet to be fed back to all of the appropriate political bodies in Guernsey, the Policy & Finance Committee is pleased to note the high degree of agreement on some of the key issues with the project in terms of identifying the principal investment objectives and critical success factors for the project.

Amongst the overall top investment objectives were the following:-

  1. Ensuring that any works take into account the opportunity for development now that could provide enhanced capacity for larger aircraft (GA and Commercial) and incremental increased passenger capacity over the next 25 years. (This would represent a Step Change in the level of airport infrastructure in Alderney over the busiest periods during the 1990s.).

  2. Ensuring that any works take into account the likely passenger and aircraft fleet demands for the next 25 years. (This represents more of the status quo position accepting that there is capacity for more flights (GA and Commercial) and incremental increased passengers - back to the peaks of the 1990 movement levels.).

 

The top critical success factors identified included:-

  1. Does the solution deliver the business need of the airlines, GA operators and the Airport - both proven and expected need over the medium term?; and

  2. Does the solution fit the wider strategy for the economy of Alderney?

 

While it is too early to be definitive about conclusions from the Workshops and how they will influence political thinking, there does appear to be a narrowing of focus between two principal options or phases (although there are some variations possible with either). One of these would be a full restoration of the existing runway (with some enhancement to modernise and future proof). This would largely provide a continuation of existing type traffic and operations.

The alternative would be to lengthen and widen the runway to 1100m and 30m respectively to be able to extend the aircraft type capable of operating to Alderney.

Of course it is expected that there will be a material cost differential between both these main options or phases. It may be a difficult decision for the States in due course to identify the optimum solution in the overall best interests of Alderney and its economy, and therefore through the de facto fiscal union that exists between the islands, of Guernsey and its community.

A critical part of the evidence base that is needed for the decision making process is assessing the overall economic benefits that could derive to the Alderney economy (and therefore also to the Guernsey economy) through the overall economic enabling factor of an 1100 m runway at Alderney.

This gap in knowledge has been recognised, and it is being plugged through a specialist economic feasibility study, which is being jointly commissioned by the States in both Islands. An appropriate consultant with skills and expertise in this area will be appointed shortly and work will then be undertaken on island, including consultations with appropriate bodies and businesses.

This study is due to report back to both States in November, so that the results can be fed into the States report on the Alderney Airport Runway Rehabilitation and Future Proofing project.

Appointment of the consultant for the economic feasibility study is imminent, and once it has been made, the Policy & Finance Committee will issue a further media release with further details.

 

Ends