Following serious and genuine concerns regarding the fact that there has been an increase in the number of footballs entering the runway from Pitch No 2 at the Bayside Sports Centre, roof netting which covers just under a third of the playing area has been installed.
The net which starts from the airport boundary fence heading in a southerly direction was the solution that was deemed both suitable by the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Air Force and Air Traffic Control whilst remaining practical for the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority to install in a short space of time. Although some delays have been incurred, these can be attributed to the fact that care was taken at the initial design stages and in particular with regards to supporting the original fence posts enabling the safe installation of the netting.
When assessing the works the Minister for Sport the Hon. Steven Linares added that “Although it is unfortunate that there has been an element of disruption to the normal use of the facility, after considering options and actually testing some interim measures, the netting was the only option left to mitigate the initial concerns.
The safety of those on board both inbound and outbound aircraft cannot be compromised however this project has shown that whilst working within certain parameters a solution can be found that meets all requirements.
I would like to thank the RAF Station Commander and Air Traffic Control for their understanding, the HM Government of Gibraltar’s Technical Services Department for their valuable input and Western Isles Ltd for completing the project in such a short space of time.
A word of mention also needs to go to all those sportspersons and in particular the Gibraltar Football Association including coaches, players and parents who understood the seriousness of the situation and have worked closely with the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority to ensure that alternative arrangements were made during the works”.