Aurigny offered public assurances today that the airline intended to get back to normal services as soon as possible – despite trimming some Guernsey-Southampton flights from its schedule.
A spokeswoman for Aurigny said they had received various queries recently about the status of the business, especially since the loss of Flybe and the announcement that Blue Islands is moving its business to Jersey where it has been given ‘base operator’ status and that it intends to concentrate on Jersey-UK connections.
Prior to the pandemic Aurigny had taken on key routes to Birmingham and Exeter, filling the void left by Flybe. Since the crisis deepened Aurigny has focussed on securing the Bailiwick’s ‘lifeline’ air links, providing regular air services from Guernsey to Southampton and Alderney. The continuing need to quarantine on arrival into the Bailiwick, said Aurigny, is clearly having a marked effect on demand.
This week (week commencing 6th July) has seen the start of the ‘7-day quarantine pilot study’. While a few flights are full, the demand for travel to the island has not been as high as expected and Aurigny have cancelled some of the extra flights they introduced during the trial.
Mark Darby, Chief Executive of Aurigny, said:
“We put on a number of extra flights to and from Southampton in anticipation that there would be high demand, however it would seem that even a seven-day quarantine period is still a barrier for most to travel at this time. It is certainly not that people do not want to travel as we have seen increasing demand on our Alderney service and our Isle of Man flights have been a massive success. We have been steadily increasing our Alderney services again adding further morning flights this week and the intended schedule to the Isle of Man has more than doubled.
“With the support of the States of Guernsey Aurigny have been able to put on flights to the Isle of Man without the need for isolation. Initially flights between the Isle of Man and Guernsey had been planned between the 22nd of July and the 30th of August with 1,700 seats available during this time. However, demand has been so high that Aurigny have added further flights, upgraded many to the jet and extended the availability period to the 13th of September. This has meant that that over 4,000 have been made available on this route – with only 300 seats remaining unsold, mostly between 30th of August and 13th of September”.
Mr Darby concluded:
“The demand for flights to Alderney and the Isle of Man has shown there is still a strong desire for air travel in the island and the Staycation holidays offered in both islands are popular. We are increasingly getting queries on when our Gatwick flights will be returning in addition to when our winter schedule is going to be published. We cannot wait to get back to normality here at Aurigny and return to operating a more normal schedule, protecting and maintaining the essential air links for the Bailiwick.”