Fri 23rd Aug 2013

The International Civil Aviation Organisation should decide now on Argyle airport's runway orientation safety

The Argyle airport runway orientation is contrary to the Argyle Airport Environmental Impact Assessment consultant's recommendation. The EIA report recommended a runway orientation of (02/20) stretching between Stubbs Hill in the South and the escape area near to the RC church in the north.

However, the ULP regime has changed the orientation, making flights more susceptible to having dangerous crosswinds hitting aircrafts when landing and taking-off. This can cause a passenger aircraft to tilt over and a serious air disaster at Argyle Airport.

To avoid a disaster and many more hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted, we are calling for all work at Argyle to be stopped and that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) come to assess, not just the runway orientation, but the whole Argyle site.

Given the number of flight safety hazards at Argyle, it is unlikely to get an ICAO licence to operate international flights.

Gazipasa-Alanya Airport is situated on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The airport was completed in 1999. However, the airport was unable to open or operate any airline services, because it was built between the sea and a mountain, with a runway that was too short. Sound familiar?

This meant that it could not be licensed for use by the ICAO, because of the danger of an aircraft colliding with the mountains when approaching or taking off. They had to re-do the runway and the airport finally opened in July 2010 - eleven years later!

Imagine the scenario: E.T. Joshua airport is closed and we have a grand opening ceremony of the Argyle airport with the usual ULP regime chest-beating and empty pontificating. Then, the ICAO refuses us a licence for international flights and we are told to re-do the runway. Imagine having no airport for 11 years!

We must get the ICAO to inspect the Argyle site immediately to assess all flight safety hazards and avoid having no airport for 11 years. Blindly carrying on would be highly irresponsible.

Building the passenger terminal before finalising the runway orientation shows how confused the ULP regime are. Argyle has high, rock cliff faces at both ends of the runway and a runway too narrow 'only 45 metres' to be an instruments runway. This high terrain can seriously impede an aircraft on approach.

The ICAO would not certify Lumbia Airport in the Philippines for international flights. General air operations in the Lumbia airport vicinity are restricted by high terrain. The key constraint, in terms of aircraft take-off performance, is the high terrain south of the airport. It is over 50 metres above the runway elevation and its height exceeds ICAO standards for the inner approach slope.

The high terrain affects flight operations. Even with the existence of navigational aids such as the ILS (Instrument Landing System), it restricts low-visibility operations because of the terrain's effect on missed approach and circling operations. At Lumbia airport, night flights and wide-body aircraft operations are impossible.

We must stop all work at Argyle and call in the ICAO now to assess the Argyle site. If E.T. Joshua airport closes and the ICAO refuse SVG a licence and say we must re-do the runway, we could be without an airport for 11 years. This will destroy our country.

We cannot afford to waste hundreds of millions of dollars more when our people are poor and urgently need jobs.

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