Guernsey Airport is well known for its susceptibility to low visibility conditions, combined with a relatively poor instrument landing capability. The airport frequently suffers flight cancellations and delays which inconvenience Islanders, impact businesses and can deter visitors. For any island economy, an airport is a lifeline and flight disruptions can have severe social and economic consequences.
Capt Mervyn Dacey has very graciously shared his report which has been written to provide an up to date view of the options available to the States of Guernsey to improve the flight reliability when Guernsey is affected by fog.
It shows how Guernsey airport could be improved to enable operations in very low visibility (fog) using proven (CAT III) technology which has been used for more than half a century.
Modern EMAS technology (engineered materials arrestor system) at the end of the runway can minimize the land area required and keep all runway improvements within the current airfield boundary.
Improving the airport infrastructure represents far better value for money in delivering schedule regularity than purchasing new EVS ATR72 planes.
The current Aurigny ATR72, the Embraer Jet plus the Flybe Dash 8 aircraft could all already land in Guernsey in the same fog visibility as the New EVS ATR72 aircraft, but they need the airport improvement to do so.
The Aurigny jet could land in much lower visibilities of CAT III 200m, than the EVS ATR 72, but again only if the airport is improved.
Buying the EVS ATR72 Airplanes will still leave all the Gatwick, Southampton and Exeter passengers stranded in the fog.
The replacement of 9 year old ATR72 aircraft appears to be unjustified at this time. The life of these aircraft is in the order of 30 years which compares with large jet transport aircraft. In comparison British Airways and Virgin Airlines B747-400 aircraft are over 30 years old and remain in service. The ATR72 aircraft do not need replacement because of their age.