30th January 1935
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport
By the mid–1930s, it was obvious that Guernsey’s only aerodrome, at L’Eree, was quickly becoming too small and impractical for a mode of transport whose importance was rapidly growing.
Thus, on 30 January 1935 the States of Guernsey discussed the prospect of constructing a new, purpose-built airport on high ground at La Villaize. They had identified 130 acres that could, they believe, be developed at a cost of £150,000 (around £10.3m today).
If that sounds like a very good price for an airport – and one that had four landing strips as opposed to the single strip Guernsey Airport has today – remember that standards were very different in the 1930s. Aircraft were lighter, so could land on grass. Apart from a narrow concrete marker used to guide the aircraft along the centre line, there was therefore no requirement for an extensive hard apron. Also, although air travel was getting more popular, planes carried far fewer passengers than they do today, so there wasn’t a need for such extensive facilities as we have now.
Lack of support
The States of Guernsey canvassed public opinion which was resolutely against the idea, not only because it would cost so much, but because the island would lose a fair chunk of its productive agricultural land.
Ultimately the peoples’ views made no difference and, for the greater good of the island and its populace, the airport was built on the proposed site. Building work began two years later and it was opened for business in 1939. It didn’t see regular services until after the war as it was used as a military airfield by the German forces throughout the occupation.
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