Friday 08 March 2019
The Policy & Resources Committee has submitted its Policy Letter on the 'Review of Strategic Air and Sea Links Infrastructure' for debate by the States at its meeting in April.
The independent expert report undertaken by PwC on air links infrastructure has been published in full as an appendix to the policy letter. You can view the report via the downloads section on this page.
The Committee is making two recommendations:
- To use its delegated authority to approve funding of up to £400,000 charged to the Capital Reserve to commission and undertake work on contingency options relating to the Island's sea links; and
- To agree that no further work is carried out to assess the business case for extending the airport runway outside its current boundaries given the other options available for meeting Guernsey's air links objectives including the work of the States' Trading Supervisory Board investigation to examine the possibility of commissioning 107 metres of starter strip/paved runway end safety area ("RESA") to increase the current available runway length from 1463 metres to 1570 for take-off and landing on RW09 and landing on RW27.
In relation to the air links recommendation, the Committee is enabling the States to reject that and instead spend up to £700,000 investigating the business case for extending the runway outside of its current boundaries to 1,700-1,800m.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy Resources Committee said:
"The Committee welcomes the excellent work undertaken by PwC. The Committee is in agreement with most of its analysis and recommendations. The only divergence is in respect of the recommendation of undertaking work to investigate extending the runway outside of its current boundaries to 1,700-1,800m. The Committee does not believe that the States nor the community will support such a project, and therefore does not want to use more hard-earned taxpayers' money on what would be an academic exercise. The Committee is, though, offering an alternative proposition to allow the States to direct that more work be undertaken."
The Committee supports much of the analysis provided by PwC in relation to air links infrastructure, including:
- That enhancing Guernsey's air links in the short-term is most likely to be achieved through market-based rather than infrastructure options, given any extension of the Guernsey airport runway outside of the current airport boundaries is likely to take five years or more;
- That larger aircraft might lead to more affordable fares, but would also lead to reduced frequency;
- That a significant number of carriers and fleets can use the existing Guernsey airport runway infrastructure at the runway's current length;
- That an extension of the runway to 1,570m would be within the current airport boundaries and may provide additional connectivity;
- That the critical requirements for the economy are enhanced frequency and connectivity, and these are unlikely to be achieved through either the use of bigger aeroplanes flying to and from Guernsey less frequently; or through an increase in the number of point-to-point low cost carriers that can operate to and from Guernsey;
- That extending the Guernsey airport runway to 1,700-1,800m may make it more accessible to some carriers on some routes, but that does not mean that those carriers will want to come to Guernsey without additional potentially significant financial investment in route development support;
- That extending the runway to 2,000m plus is unfeasible for financial and environmental reasons and should not be considered as a viable option; and
- That Guernsey has excellent air connectivity, and indeed that Guernsey's air connectivity has improved since the study was commenced.
Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy Resources Committee said:
"The Committee also welcomes PwC's confirmation of the importance of the Island's sea links to its economic and social wellbeing. Moreover it supports PwC's view that the Committee must ensure that this critical connectivity is protected from disruption in the medium-term through effective contingency planning in the event that the potential sale of Condor Limited leads to a reduction or loss of sea link services.
"However given the fact that the Committee is recommending further work be undertaken, and given the commercially sensitive nature of much of the analysis, the Committee is not publishing the sea links infrastructure part of the review in full at this stage. The policy letter does, however, include a summary of PwC's report findings that the consultants provided."
The policy letter has been seen in advance by PwC and they have indicated that they are content with the way that their analysis and recommendations have been reported and presented.