Council Giving Up Lease On St Mary’s Airport
But one councillor is furious that the discussions were held in a secret session where the public were excluded.
In a press release issued yesterday, the Council said they will surrender the lease, “to enable the exploration of other delivery options or sources of income.”
They say this, “will ensure the future viability and financial security of this important function.”
Council Chairman Amanda Martin said: “As things stand the ongoing investment required to safely operate the airport is not possible using the current model. This is why we have decided to seek a more effective and viable solution.”
And Cllr Ted Moulson, the Vice-Chairman of the Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee confirmed that this, “will provide an opportunity for an independent operator to explore running alternative extra routes and expand operations.”
But in a separate statement, Cllr Gordon Bilsborough says he does not share the “delight” of the Chairman and others that the airport lease is being surrended to the Duchy of Cornwall.
He says he has “strong reservations” about this decision and feels there should have been a “meaningful consultation exercise” beforehand.
Gordon wanted the future of the airport to debated in an open session at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday, because any decision will affect most people on the islands.
He says he challenged Chief Executive Theo Leijser’s recommendation that it be held behind closed doors, but was “heavily out-voted.”
Gordon says in his opinion, the Council’s decision to refuse to debate the airport in public “makes a bizarre mockery of its alleged commitment to openness and transparency.”
He believes that, given the will, a solution to the problems could be found without the Council losing complete control of the facility but said that Mr Leijser, who led the debate, thinks otherwise.
“I can only hope that he and those who supported him are proved right, but I doubt it,” says Gordon.
The Council also announced that the airport is finally being removed from the ‘Special Attention’ notification, issued by the CAA in October 2013 after failing to operate to the standards required by the regulator.