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Runway Extension Study 24 June 2004

The Isle of Man Government have approved £1.5M to be spent preparing a detailed feasibility study and full planning application for a circa 220 metre extension to the main runway at the Isle of Man Airport.

The project will entail designing a seaward extension to the main runway 08/26, primarily to provide a longer Runway End Safety Area (RESA) which will meet recommended International Standards. The extended RESA platform will also provide a useful increase in useable runway length, to ensure that the Airport can continue to accept aircraft upto 200 seats on 2000 n.mile European and Mediterranean destinations.

The design team for the project has been appointed, led by Burroughs Stewart Associates as Client Representative and Project Manager; TPS Consult as Engineer and Design Team Leader; EC Harris as Cost Advisor and Manager; and Aviation International Marketing (AIM) for marketing analysis. Environmental, and Planning Consultants will complete the team.

The project timescale envisages obtaining planning consent by 2006.

Airport Director, Philip Pain, commented:

"We meet existing minimum standards for RESA length, but the new recommended standards mean that we either have to extend out to sea, or shorten our existing declared runway distances which would badly affect existing traffic. The Isle of Man Government has, in approving the fees for this project, recognised the importance of ensuring that we provide a safe Airport to operate from, catering for future aircraft types and facilitating expected growth in traffic.

This will be a challenging project to design, given the exposed coastal location, the need to import strategic materials, construct in the tidal zone, and keep the existing runway fully operational throughout. There are sensitive environmental and archaeological issues to be addressed, and an important coastal footpath to be maintained.

Above all, we will need to be satisfied that the business case for this project represents best value for money, as the Airport is required to be financially self-sufficient and there are no external grants or aid available towards the cost.

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