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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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes on Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st