Islanders could see more flight delays and cancellations if plans to demolish the old 1937 arrivals hall are not approved on Monday, says Ports of Jersey chief executive Doug Bannister.
International safety regulations say that the building is too close to the runway and has to come down, but because it has recently been listed there is a doubt over whether Environment Minister Rob Duhamel will approve a demolition application at a meeting on Monday.
Mr Bannister, who runs the harbours and Airport for the States, says that if the demolition is rejected the regulator will impose restrictions at the Airport, including restricting planes using the taxiway while the runway is in use, and reducing the time that pilots have to make a final decision on whether to land or not as they descend – leading to more flight delays and cancellations.
And all of that, he says, will mean more disruption, potentially fewer charter flights of tourists in the summer, and more unwelcome problems for airlines who currently fly to Jersey.
Of the 1.5 million people who come through the Airport every year, around 1 million arrive in the summer – and a significant proportion of them come in weekend charter flights that Mr Bannister says would be seriously affected.
He said: “Our capacity to handle air traffic will be reduced because of the taxiway issue, and that means we would have to implement flow control, which would dramatically reduce Saturday capacity.
“Raising the decision height in inclement weather will have a knock-on effect in terms of a loss of confidence in Jersey from an airline’s point of view. For many airlines, Jersey is not the only destination – so what impacts or delays a flight here can affect a whole range of other airports.
“The other area of confidence is in connectivity to the rest of the world and in particular that would be quite devastating for the finance industry and general business in Jersey. If you cannot rely on getting into and out of Jersey for meetings, perhaps people will look at other jurisdictions.”
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