The Airport has shelved its £42m redevelopment plans and is drawing up new ones after the decision to keep the original 1937 building.
For years, the box-like structure looked likely to be demolished as it was considered an obstruction to modern aviation, being too close to the runway.
However, earlier this year, the Island’s Director of Civil Aviation went against the recommendations of her regulatory predecessors and ruled that the building could be retained without compromising safety.
The news was greeted with joy by heritage campaigners, who had not only long-identified the historical significance of the building but had also commissioned their own expert report, which concluded it was not a hazard to aviation.
However, the DCA, former Airport Director Inez Bartolo, later said that this report had had no bearing on her decision to deem the 1937 building safe and able to be retained.
Pictured: A video of the 'one-box' solution proposed by Ports of Jersey in 2020.
This week, Save Jersey’s Heritage published another report, setting out how the Airport could be redesigned to incorporate the 1937 building. This included a suggestion that arriving passengers should exit through the original terminal's distinctive art-deco atrium.
Now, Government-owned Ports of Jersey has said that it is working on a new ‘masterplan’ in light of the DCA’s “significant” decision.
Airport Director Robin MacRae said: “The change in regulatory direction from the Office of the DCA in February 2021 enabled the arrivals building at Jersey Airport to be retained.
“This revised position of the DCA is of such significance to the future development of the Airport, that a new Airport Masterplan is now required to confirm how best to provide and prioritise the much-needed investment in our vital airport infrastructure.
“The primary focus of Ports of Jersey will always be to ensure safe and secure operations, while investing in a modern, easy-to-use airport terminal that Islanders can be proud of and that will help grow connectivity, so vital to the Island’s recovery and growth.
“This is a significant piece of work which we anticipate will take until the end of the year to complete.
“We welcome and value the opinions of our many stakeholders and customers and will provide an opportunity for these to be shared within the engagement process in developing the Airport Masterplan.”
Pictured: An artist's impression of previous plans to redevelop the passenger pier at the Airport.
Previously, when it planned to demolish the 1937 building, the Airport focused on keeping all departures and arrivals on the existing main terminal, built in the 1990s and named after the Chief Minister’s father, a past president of the old Harbours and Airport Committee.
This ‘one-box’ solution involved departing passengers checking in where they do now but then ascending up to a mezzanine floor that joined to a new double-deck pier leading out to the gates.
In order to fund this development, priced at £42m, Ports of Jersey secured a £40m loan from a group of local banks last November.
A section explaining the redevelopment plans on Port of Jersey’s website has now been removed.
Save Jersey’s Heritage say its own plans, which propose a new arrivals hall being built in the land-side corner where the departures’ and arrivals’ hall currently meet, will be cheaper and lead to the removal of the current baggage reclaim area, allowing the airside façade of the 1937 building to be exposed and restored.
Ports of Jersey has been particularly badly hit by the pandemic. In October, it announced that it was cutting up to 65 jobs to help it cope with the impact of coronavirus. Four months later, it said that it had met its targets without the need for any compulsory redundancies.
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