The Guernsey Branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Chamber of Commerce look forward with anticipation to the Policy & Resources Committee statement on the review of air and sea link infrastructure at the States of Guernsey meeting next week.
Having supported the work in the initial phase of the review, the business associations now call on the Committee to proceed promptly to the full technical review and socio-economic cost-benefit analysis identifying the preferred option for developing the island’s air infrastructure.
Only following the publication of an independently produced, fully costed and scrutinised business case will the States be able to reach an evidence-based conclusion and proceed with the urgently needed investment in Guernsey’s air infrastructure.
The IoD and Chamber joint air links survey and submission clearly identified the island’s air links as a negative differentiator for Guernsey; potentially impacting the island's economy by £100m per annum by 2024. Given the size of the issue, there can be no higher priority for public funds in restoring business confidence than the modest cost of completing the business and technical case in the first quarter of 2019.
At this point in the electoral cycle, a policy paper brought with incomplete information risks deferring the conclusion of this process until after the 2020 election, further eroding business confidence and damaging economic activity in the meantime.
In relation to other items coming before the 12th December States meeting in relation to air links:
· Whilst the proposal from the States’ Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) in relation to the Aurigny ATR fleet shows the financial merit in the business case from Aurigny’s perspective, we do not believe that this investment in itself delivers the user improvements necessary to protect and grown the island’s economy. The merits of the low visibility landing capability would be more easily evaluated after the review of land based infrastructure options has been published.
· The IoD and Chamber welcome the Policy letter from the Committee for Economic Development, which correctly identifies the core strategic objectives the island should use for future investment in air and sea links: affordability, connectivity and reliability.