A three-way approach to restore Alderney’s transport links in a post-pandemic world is a top priority for the Island’s leaders.
The Policy & Finance Committee (P&F) has underscored the importance of the £12m Airport runway project and has pledged to work closely with the authorities in Guernsey to ensure it is completed in 2022 while also finding ways to ‘future-proof’ the airport for the next 25 years.
Members have also asked the Economic Development Committee (EDC) to undertake further consultation with key stakeholders about the proposed Integrated Transport Strategy and bring it back to P&F as soon as possible.
The third aspect of P&F’s transport initiative is now underway – a call for ‘expressions of interest’ to operate a ferry service between Alderney and Guernsey has brought at least two viable options for this year. EDC is also looking at options and the legislation required to allow vessels carrying more than 12 passengers to operate the route in 2022.
The committee also remains focused on the importance of the arrangement between Guernsey and Aurigny that would hand the airline £2m a year over five years to create a more flexible service between the islands together with the direct Alderney-Southampton route. It is hoped the deal will then lead to confirmation of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) agreement guaranteeing Alderney’s lifeline routes.
It would give Aurigny flexibility to organise schedules and fares in line with demand – possibly two rotations a day between Alderney and Southampton and up to four rotations per day between Guernsey and Alderney.
“Air and sea connectivity is a central pillar of Alderney’s future as a vibrant community, both socially and economically.” said P&F Chairman Bill Abel.
“In the past, the complexity and cost of transport has caused tensions between the islands, but now the pandemic has pressed the reset button both in terms of our relationship with Guernsey and in attitudes and understanding of the Bailiwick’s future needs and expectations.
We have to get this right so that we have a medium and long-term plan that fits with the Bailiwick’s Revive & Thrive initiative and gives Islanders assurances that these lifeline links are secure.
A close working relationship with Guernsey and Aurigny must be maintained throughout this process to ensure that any significant policies we put forward are aligned with their own strategies.”