10th March 1937
Jersey Airport opens for business
“Ingeniously arranged buildings,” said the headline in The Times as Jersey Airport was opened for business by Mrs Coutanche, wife of the bailiff. “This aerodrome has been in the course of preparation for the past 15 months, and has had the advantage of being planned as a whole , with a large fund of experience in the development of aerodromes elsewhere at its service,” the paper continued.
Prior to the airport’s opening, planes had used the sand at St Aubin’s bay as their runway. Now, however, they had an 85-acre site with a 914m landing strip. The surface was said to be “in perfect condition” as, at that point, no plane had been allowed to land on it.
Keeping the public contained
So, what was so ingenious about the airport’s layout? Partly it was the way the hangars had been positioned on either side of the terminal building to stop any unauthorised members of the public gaining access to the airfield. There was a tea room and restaurant on the roof, above which were the control tower whose fourth-floor position gave controllers a view across the airfield.
The cost of building the airport, including the hangars, terminal, apron and runways, was a very reasonable £128,000, which equates to around £8.5m in modern times. The word ‘Jersey’ was helpfully painted, in block capitals, on the landing strip should pilots have any doubt where they were putting down.
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