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Guernsey Ports begins procurement for Alderney Airport refurbishment

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Thursday 18 May 2023

Guernsey Ports has begun the tender process for the planned major works at Alderney Airport.

Last December, the States of Guernsey approved plans for a full refurbishment of the current runway, which will involve resurfacing, widening, strengthening and extending the existing asphalt strip. This will enable the operation of larger aircraft than the current 19-seater planes that service the routes between the island and Guernsey and Southampton. 

The planned refurbishment also involves the replacement or refurbishment of the current terminal building and airport fire station, both of which are more than 50 years old. 

The States of Alderney has agreed to contribute to the costs of the project, which it has described as "the most important infrastructure project for the Island in almost 200 years".

Specialist contractors are being invited to register their interest by completing the first tender stage, which is a prequalification questionnaire (PQQ). It will enable Guernsey Ports to compile a shortlist, who will be invited to submit detailed proposals for the construction contract this summer.

At present, air services to and from Alderney are subsidised by the States of Guernsey under a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract, at a cost of around £2 million a year. This reflects the fact that although they are a lifeline for Alderney, under current conditions it is not viable for an airline to operate regular, year-round services on a commercial basis.

However, that subsidy would be reduced by around £1 million a year by operating larger aircraft, which requires a longer runway.

It should also deliver other benefits to Alderney, including more resilient air links and a full medical evacuation capability, and future proof the airport for potential changes to international aviation security regulations. 

The runway at Alderney Airport was last resurfaced more than 20 years ago. Guernsey Ports chief operating officer, Ross Coppolo, said despite considerable remedial repairs in recent years, the continued deterioration has been a cause for concern for some time, and the planned works were now urgent. 

"Since the States approval last December, we have completed the design of the agreed scheme, and are able to begin the process of appointing a specialist construction firm to carry out these essential works. The first PQQ stage will enable us to compile a shortlist, who will be invited to submit detailed proposals, include cost, later this year," he said. 

"By its nature, this is a long process, so it is vital that we start now so that we will be in a position to award a contract at the beginning of 2024, with a view to commencing work on site in spring next year. If we miss that window it could delay the project by up to a year, which would necessitate more extensive remedial works and increase the risk of a more serious runway failure." 

Guernsey Ports has already engaged with a number of specialist firms who may be able to carry out the works, to make them aware of the timescales.

Interested parties now have until noon on the Wednesday 7 June to complete the initial PQQ. The process is being managed via the States of Guernsey E-Tender Portal, under Project ID: 74370.

The anticipated procurement schedule is:-

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