St Mary’s Airport Terminal In Wrong Place For New Landing System

St Mary's Airport

St Mary’s Airport

Plans to introduce GPS-style aircraft navigation technology that could allow planes to land at St Mary’s airport in lower visibility have been put on hold because the terminal building is in the wrong place.

Currently, the Civil Aviation Authority says there needs to be 30m of clearance either side of a centreline down the runway for a visual landing.

If the EGNOS instrument landing technology were to be introduced, they’d require 75m either side. This new ruling is already affecting a number of regional airports in the UK.

It means the terminal building at St Mary’s is in the way and would have to be moved. There isn’t the money for that within the £5m airport upgrade so Council staff are now hoping that the CAA will revise their regulations in the autumn.

The Council will then be able to apply for future grants when the next European finance programme is in place after 2015.

Diana says the Council’s airport consultants, Parsons Brinkerhoff, can’t be blamed for failing to identify the problem because EGNOS is a new system and the regulator has had to come up with new rules for it.

In the meantime the council is proceeding the with internal refurbishment of the airport and of the tower and runway.

They will also prepare the site for EGNOS. If the CAA don’t revise the regulation in our favour, says Diana, the technology will still bring extra safety benefits for the airport.