JERSEY AIRPORT – Arrivals Terminal – Demolition Project

Background  For many years aerodrome audit reports commissioned by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, who oversee and regulate all aspects of civil  aviation in the UK and Channel Islands and who issue Jersey Airport with its licence to operate an aerodrome, have stated that the current building, which houses the arrivals facility is an aviation hazard.  This is due to its close proximity to the runway and taxiway as well as its penetration into the agreed safety areas (the so-called 1 in 7 slope from the runway).  These are particularly relevant in periods of low and poor visibility, such as fog. This hazard, together with other obstacles around the airfield, is noted on the Island’s aerodrome license as variations.  Jersey Airport has had plans for some time to remove these obstacles, in order to remain compliant with agreed international safety standards as set down by the authority and submitted a planning application to demolish the building in November 2010.
Listing The recent decision taken by the Planning & Environment Minister to list the structure as a Grade 2 building may now influence the outcome of the Airport’s 2010 planning application to demolish the structure.  Should this application be unsuccessful it will, without doubt, impact on future aviation services to and from Jersey. Although the entire arrivals terminal has been listed, just a small part of the actual building dates back to the original 1937 structure.  Extensive changes to the building have been made over the years, with much of its original flooring, windows, internal layout and external façade either removed or sympathetically altered over time to such a degree that it no longer represents the original 1937 structure.

Demolition However, while retaining the building for its aesthetically pleasing structure as well as sentimental reasons has been suggested, we should not forget the fundamental impact this decision could have on island-wide businesses and local residents.   The airport’s regulator, the Channel Islands Director of Civil Aviation has allowed these variations on its operating license to continue while the airport continued to have the demolition of the arrivals terminal building in its long term capital works programme.  The listing of the building has created a risk, but the key decision to be taken is the planning application to demolish – scheduled for 24 February 2014.

Arrivals west elevation and 1 in 7

By rejecting the demolition of the arrivals terminal building the airport will not be compliant with the safety standard its regulator enforces, and he may be forced to place operating restrictions on Jersey Airport to adhere to agreed international safety standards.

These operating restrictions will undoubtedly result in an increase in the agreed decision height and horizontal visibility parameters within which the airport can operate.  For example, the agreed decision height is 200 feet and 450 metres horizontal visibility. Extending these limits that an airline can operate in will mean an increase in the number of delays and cancellations and potentially a withdrawal of marginal air services altogether.

Furthermore, additional traffic restrictions on the airfield will mean a slower flow of aircraft in the skies above Jersey and for those on the taxiways and runway, severely restricting  the airport’s capacity, even on clear days. For example, no movement of aircraft on the taxiway or pulling back from the stands while aircraft are on approach to Jersey will have a huge impact, not only on residents but also visitors. Hardest hit will be busy summer Saturdays when the Island welcomes thousands of tourists, meaning the airport has to reduce the number of flights it can accept on these days, seriously impacting Jersey’s hospitality sector, with charter flights likely to be the first to pull out of Jersey.   Phase One of Demolition Complete In 2011, as part of its long-term redevelopment plans and following the relocation of a new air traffic control facility, part-demolition of the arrivals terminal building was carried out. This involved the removal of the top two floors as part of Jersey Airport’s efforts to remain safety compliant as they (the floors) were restricting the view of the runway. Furthermore, this area was beyond repair and contained asbestos, which the airport was legally required to remove.

Sourced from Jersey Airport.

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