Monday, October 17, 2005

Safety issue dominates Airport expansion – CBF

* MOD must recover part of £10M running cost

Safety is a key issue of concern to the MoD in relation to the airport and plans for increased use that would follow any agreement in the trilateral forum.

That was the clear message from Commodore Allan Adair the Commander British Forces who highlights that this is a military airport.

“We are mainly concerned with safety in the use of the airport and it is not just us but also the aeronautical safety team. If it were not a military airport it would be shut for safety reasons,” says Commodore Adair referring to the fact that the Rock itself looms over the runway as do a number of high buildings.

“It creates all sorts of turbulence and in some conditions you cannot just land there.

There are buildings that have emerged quite close to the runway that would not normally be allowed. So safety is our primary concern and there are strict rules about how close you can build and land.”

It’s one of the few runways that is a captain only one for landing. (sic)

Another issue is the traffic access across the runway.

“I am fully aware of the terminal issues. I know what the Spanish desire for dual use of the terminal. All these things we can talk about.”

Commodore Adair accepts that the MoD landing fees are very expensive compared to Malaga, four times as much, but he says the airport costs £10m a year to run.

“We have to recoup some of that money.

I am not here to run a civilian airport but to run a military airport. We have to come to a compromise."

"I can see a small expansion of civilian traffic but all things have to be taken into consideration. If you do up the traffic you will inevitably cause problems with vehicular traffic,” he says referring to plans such as the idea of building a tunnel at the eastern end which he says would be a good thing.

Commodore Adair said he was not yet aware of the outcome of the last set of talks in Mallorca.

“People must be aware that is a military airport but we will bend over backwards to help the Government of Gibraltar in their plans to increase its use.”

Related Articles and Links:

The Schengen Convention

17 October 2005 - A foot in the running of the airport

17 October 2005 - Schengen concerns lie at heart of Airport talks

15 October 2005 - ‘Concessions’ for Airport deal, but not on any fundamentals - Caruana

14 October 2005 - Arenas condemns Tripartite Forum

01 September 2005 - Bossano rejects Spanish participation in Gibraltar Airport

31 August 2005 - Spain wants to have its own police in Gibraltar's airport

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