11 NOVEMBER 2019
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Concern is growing on Guernsey over the future of air services to and from the island after its state-owned airline, Aurigny, was reported last week to be facing record losses of nearly £10m next year.
According to ITV News, the island government, the States of Guernsey, has come under fire from the heads of two watchdog bodies, the Trading and Supervisory Board (STSB) and the Scrutiny Management Committee (SMC), for the rising losses.
STSB president Peter Ferbrache and SMC head Chris Green are reported as saying the aims given to the airline by the States are conflicting and the carrier cannot break even.
The comments come after the two bodies commissioned an independent review. This concluded Aurigny was generally well managed, a verdict greeted with scepticism by some observers, but added there were areas in need of improvement.
The report said only Aurigny’s Gatwick route was profitable; other services were “unlikely to be viable” in the event of economic downturn and partnerships might be needed between smaller airlines, like Blue Islands, due to limited market size.
Paul Simmons, a non-executive director at Blue Islands, said: “The report appears to have been written under the influence of rose-tinted eyewear. My reading of it is that someone needs to grab the strategy nettle, and quickly.”
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Angelika Voss, Alderney
Never mind Guernsey - which is reasonably well served by Flybe. It's not the end of the world for Guernsey if Aurigny goes under. It's Alderney for which the demise of Aurigny would be catastrophic. Alderney has no other links with the outside world - other than a weekly freight ferry, a summer-only foot ferry to Guernsey and a little boat that does day trips to Guernsey and Cherbourg. Aurigny was set up to serve Alderney (it's the island's French name). It used to serve our island very well, and - I understand - quite profitably. It then decided that it wanted to turn itself into a regional airline serving Guernsey, and has been cutting down its service to Alderney to an extent where you can sometimes be stuck on (or off) the island for days because there just aren't any seats on any flights. Not because of fog (a problem we know we have to live with) but because they haven't got enough aircraft to run the required number of flights. If an aircraft goes tech, or goes off for maintenance, they just cancel flights instead of sourcing a replacement. Things are pretty dire for Alderney!
Tim Procter, Tunbridge Wells
Rather unfair to apply airline business models to what is essentially a public transport system to sustain the Island's contact with the mainland. Having said that though, I'd wager a few residents and Companies registered on Guernsey might have a couple of bob to keep it all running.