Wednesday 04 November 2020
General Aviation Matters
The request for this statement came from a Member of the Assembly after they read a story in the Guernsey Press and I thank him for raising it with me so that I can address this appropriately here today.
Members will be aware that many commercial, legal and operational matters that support government in Guernsey do often need to be addressed with proportionate confidentiality before the Assembly is directly involved.
Sir, Mr Dominic Lazarus remains the Director of Civil Aviation and the office in Guernsey is currently being supported by Mr Ash Nicholas as his Deputy and supported by a small team that support them. The States of Guernsey does not comment on individual employment matters.
The airport continues to meet all of the necessary safety and security requirements that are needed and it is fully operational, albeit within the constraints of the travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am sure that all Members of the States will join me in thanking staff at the airport and harbours, who have kept essential services running. They are doing a fantastic job.
Sir, while I am mentioning aviation matters, I would like to pick up an issue about the States support for the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation so it can allow the continued growth of the Aircraft Registry. The Member requesting this statement has also asked for an update on that.
Members may know that the Aircraft Registry operates independently but with statutory oversight from the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation. The Aircraft Registry, or 2-Reg as it is branded, has been successful in registering hundreds of aircraft from all around the world and currently has 267 on its register. It returned over £375,000 in royalty payments in 2019 and despite 2020 being an unusual year, the States is still likely to receive royalty payments of £250,000.
As well as this, Sir, a small group representing legal offices, corporate service providers and aircraft operating companies in Guernsey estimate that their businesses derive in excess of £1.4 million per annum through 2-REG related work only. That is upwards of £1.4 million per annum back into the local economy.
On top of this, the operation is based in the Island, so Guernsey benefits from the income tax take on several members of 2-Reg staff, as well as rent paid for dedicated offices in the airport building.
Finally Sir, 2-Reg provides an opportunity for growth - of the general and commercial aviation sectors, as we seek to drive economic recovery.
In short - it is good for our economy and good for our reputation as a place to do business. Indeed - it cannot be seen as anything other than a very successful business for Guernsey.
The operation does require a little more financial support from the States for 2021, in the form of additional resources employed by the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation - a total of £103,000. This is needed to assist with the statutory functions of the Director of Civil Aviation in determining applications for the registration of aircraft from 2-Reg. This makes sure that those aircraft being put forward for registration by 2-Reg meet the necessary standards to maintain safety as well as Guernsey's reputation.
The Committee is aware that the previous Policy & Resources Committee did challenge this request for a small amount of additional funding for the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation, though on the basis of a further business case prepared by officers with the support of the business community, it eventually conceded. So I am pleased to report that this additional amount has now been approved. And rightly so.
Why would we not want to support such as positive business for Guernsey? This Committee will support it, and we will seek to grow general and commercial aviation to support our economic recovery.
Thank you, Sir.