‘Routes will go if profit is needed’

ROUTES would be lost, others cut back with only Gatwick safe if Aurigny was told to make a profit, the airline’s chief executive officer has warned.

markdarby

Mark Darby was speaking after the 2017 Budget revealed that the States-owned airline was set to incur a £4.6m. loss this year – £3.1m. more than forecast.

His comment came at a time that a protest against the cost and unreliability of travel links was called for 10am Sunday at the airport.

Mr Darby said Aurigny was told by the States to budget to break even and the downside was that any unforeseen circumstances, such as increased maintenance costs – some £1.4m. this year – put it straight into the red.

While people thought they were high, its fares still represented value for money and it was not a business that was heavily manned.

It was an expensive one to run, however.

‘For a small airline it is very complicated,’ he said.

‘A typical low-cost airline has just one type of aircraft, for instance, but we are asked to do many things.’

He said the States wanted to fly to Gatwick, which was why it bought its Embraer jet and it wanted to fly to Alderney, which is why it had the Dornier.

‘We could cut back the business considerably, but all we would be doing is flying to Gatwick a couple of times a day and maybe Manchester once a day,’ Mr Darby said.

Comments for: "‘Routes will go if profit is needed’"

Dave Haslam

I hate to say this, but if we cant get a decent service at a decent price, then maybe its time to take a closer look at Mr Darby's performance?

Rock

Ex CEO of LIAT airlines, Caribbean so plenty of experience with a loss making airline monopoly.

GM

Darby is a clown. He couldn't run a bath. He seems to be on an empire-building crusade to run multiple routes, rather like throwing a dart at a dart board to find a route which might make a profit.

Can anyone tell us when it was decided that Aurigny should risk its losses mushrooming by launching so many new routes? He said at the time that Barcelona was a way of offering something back to islanders? Since when was that his call when huge losses were being racked up elsewhere? What was the REAL net cost of running the Barcelona route after taking into account the half empty legs, the cost of overtime for keeping the airport open late at night, and the opportunity cost of taking the jet off the late Gatwick flight on a Saturday night?

Does he actually understand budgets, forecasts, fixed costs, variable costs, opportunity costs? Why are they continually so inept at forecasting profits and losses? Looks like gross mismanagement. Why should the States have any confidence in this man steering Aurigny? He is way out of his depth.

The concept of Aurigny operating at a loss to protect key routes is a no-brainer. But cap that loss and run a budget to achieve it. It doesn't mecessarily mean that we would just be left with Gatwick, Alderney and Manchester. Some of the other existing routes could be 2 or 3 times a week in summer months only. Common sense.

Aurigny needs to go back to doing what it was meant to do. Moulton's mission to drop the Jersey route to ensure that the Trilanders would disappear was a massive own goal. Why on earth did we listen to him? He's a private equity asset stripper and his recent track record on that front has been very poor. Whose decision was it to invest in the Dorniers? Totally unsuitable for the inter-island routes. A disastrous own goal.

Will heads roll at Aurigny? They certainly should do.

Back to basics please. Urgently. None of the usual procrastination.

Alvin

The RUAG Dornier 228NGs, along with the Viking Twin Otters, are probably the only suitable Trislander replacements on the market.

The mistake was that Aurigny put all its attention on buying a jet whilst neglecting the subject of Trislander replacement until too late. What followed was panic buying of two old and unsuitable 228s.

If they had done things the right way round, we could have seen three brand new 228Ngs in operation right now.

Devil's Advocate

Yep, apparently their old one(s) are the ones causing the problem with baggage being left behind - they're not able to carry the weight of a full passenger load and their luggage. I hear they're being uprated at present to resolve the issue.

It's standard business practise for management to ignore the staff when it comes to ensuring replacements are running before ditching the old gear, hence all the disruption earlier in the year when they got rid of the Trislanders before the Dorniers were ready.

guern abroad

Can the 228Ngs land in a cross wind?

Alvin

Supposedly better than the Trislanders... but then the Condor Liberation ............. oh dear....

PLP

You're right GM - I don't think any sane person expects Aurigny to run at a profit but that's no excuse to let losses go unchallenged. I'm curious whether Aurigny's annual accounts are published? If they're not, they jolly well should be.

Earl Granville

OMG the elephant is in the room. It's been pretty self apparent for a considerable time that the moment the tax payer could no longer afford to subsidise Aurigny to such a vast extent the island would be left with very few travel options.

AURIGNY to London Gatwick

BLUE ISLANDS to Southampton if you like getting fleeced

FLYBE to Exeter and Birmingham for who knows how much longer very infrequently and of course Heathrow if Tonga win the World Cup.

No cavalry coming to get us out of this because the blessed runway's too short and as Mr Darby says most airlines of the size that might come here only have one type of aircraft and stone me strike a light they can't land or take off here.

The only marginally reliable alternative method of getting to Blighty to start your hols (via a taxi to Heathrow) would be with CONDOR to Portsmouth and guess what they've only got one passenger vessel that goes there. You try sneaking onto the MV Arrow as a passenger when the Clipper's futu.

A disaster a long time in the making and carefully planned the whole way through - not

Earl Granville

Of course we could stick all the redundant aircraft in a hangar (3 ATR 72s and an ATR 42) and charge admission to go and look at them - a great tourist attraction. Oh silly me the tourists wouldn't be able to get here to look at them.

It would be wrong to slate Mr Darby exclusively this vanity project has wasted money for over a decade - buying the COBO and VZON numbers to put on the planes for example. Even this last Sunday there were two check in desks open all day at Gatwick to check in less than a handful of flights and maybe a couple of hundred passengers. Get real

Keef

Just for interest I have looked up how much it costs to have 'personal' out of sequence registrations. It is a one-off fee of £296 over and above the usual registration costs. So, not much money 'wasted' on this. Personally I like the planes having local identities.

Biggles

So the States want it to run at break even? Ok, get on with making it run at break even then. Stop trying to be something it isn't. Lose the costs with the drinks and food on the flights and dump the runs that are clearly costing.

Once it is back operating properly, put a business case together for the routes that can make some sense and use the money banked from the profits rather than relying on the tax payer to continue propping up your idiotic business ideas.

Alderney needs Flights. Gatwick is the current London flight. Bin the rest unless they are covering the costs, which includes the maintenance costs too. They are part of your operating costs. Or did you not expect the costs of operating planes to include the maintenance.

Another buffoon at the helm of a states owned entity, blaming everyone else except himself. And be honest, who cares if the excessive cost flights are removed to prevent the tax payer picking up the bill? That means it will be cheaper for the island alround instead of bailing this shower out every year

markB

I wise this Guy and his team could be fired, who remembers his Financial Director saying in this very paper "Aurigny should be in profit by 2015" the only people making a fat profit are Mr Darby & co.

Oh!! and take your hands out your pockets and where's your tie you're having your photo taken and it reflects on the company.

Alvin

The statements by Mr Darby, if true attributed, are highly worrying.

Routes would be lost ? But why even start them if they are going to lose money ? The Norwich, Barcelona and London City routes have probably each lost more, per passenger flown, than the Alderney route.

Historically, Aurigny knew that LCY was probably not viable. That is why they declined to try that route before. The route maybe be highly desirable – but it is not essential as Gatwick can serve the finance industry almost as well, and, as Aurigny has no code-share/online/franchise agreements with another airline, onward connections through that airport are not that attractive. ( At least, if one has to buy a separate ticket, Gatwick has the likes of Easyjet and Norwegian to choose from ).

Now we are being told that the Alderney route is losing 1.4 million a year; whilst just a short while ago the figure of 900k was widely used. The Trislanders’ heavy maintenance costs were put as the reason for past losses – and now the Dornier’s maintenance costs are the reason : why did Aurigny buy two very old second Dorniers which have been problematic since their arrival and not order brand new machines, ( which have a different set of flight controls requiring further training of pilots ), some years ago when they had the chance. Why did they lease the old ATR G-HUET to serve the LCY route when they knew that route was not going to make a profit ?

The States wanted Aurigny to fly to Gatwick so that is why they bought the Embraer ? So Aurigny was not flying to Gatwick before ? And why then was the Embraer used on a loss making route to Barcelona ?

And maybe the Manchester flight would have to be cut down to only one a day ? 7648 passengers flew on that route during August – if two rotations a day then that is a very healthy 85% seat occupancy !

Finally, corrosion on one aircraft “bumped up costs” ?? Was this the ATR72-202 G-BWDB, which was supposed to have been sold ages ago but was kept on as a back up for Aurigny’s expanding network. And was it replaced by the ATR42-500 G-HUET ? I don’t think so as that was leased specifically for the LCY route.

Loads more reasons for the losses are given, such as the States themselves, the currency exchange rates, ( even though aviation fuel these two years has been at its cheapest for ages ), and of course the fog ! But the airline expects to lose 4 – 5 million a year for the next three years ?? Is there even more fog forecast in years to come ??

Yes, it is true that even if the airline loses money, the island's economy does benefit - but when the airline loses money due to poor decisions being taken, that is another matter.

Chris

Corrosion was on the Embraer

Hermite

I don't think the Embraer has been suffering corrosion problems. G-BWDB was withdrawn for several weeks earlier in the year due to corrosion, and I understand that G-LGIS has returned to the factory in Germany to resolve a corrosion problem.

Chris

I never said the extra loss was down to corrosion on the Embraer, simply that the Embraer had some corrosion.

If we're talking about unexpected costs, how much do you think it cost when a big bird got sucked into the engine?

GM

Chris

Are you inferring that the Aurigny jet is not insured against damage from bird strikes? If not, why not? Sounds like negligence if no insurance cover is in place to cover it. Insurance would normally cover the cost of chartering a replacement aircraft.

Try again.

Insider

I think the extra maintenance costs was down to bird strikes on the Jet which meant an engine needing replacements each time..

Devil's Advocate

Darby on the Radio said it was a 20 year old ATR that had it and has subsequently been sold for a good price. The extent of corrosion couldn't have been known about until they took it apart apparently.

Hermite

G-BWDB is the 20 year old ATR.

Alvin

"a good price"

That should mean a lot more than the book value of the aircraft and thus a healthy contribution to the bottom line.

islander

Would it not be cheaper due to the expected fuel rises here in Guernsey due in the coming budget to fill up in UK and do cheaper flights from Gatwick to Guernsey return and reduce the £millions overspends?

Chris

No tax on aviation fuel. They do fill up in the UK not here

Devil's Advocate

The price of aviation fuel is done in dollars so it's also become a lot more expensive since the Breixt vote - Easyjet are £80 million down according to news yesterday.

Alvin

When the price of oil dropped dramatically from mid-2014 onwards, we were all told by the airlines that fares can't come down yet because fuel supply contracts are negotiated and set well in advance and thus takes time to trickle. So I do not expect a ten per cent fall in the value of Sterling to take effect immediately. Yes it will affect the bottom line eventually but then the price for aviation fuel for the first six months of this year should be considerably less than the first six months of 2014.

GM

Alvin

Spot on. The effect of oil prices (and currencies) takes a while to work its way through. A well-run airline can of course use forward contracts and currency hedging strategies to protect itself from volatile oil prices and currency swings.

We never hear of fares being reduced because of favourable price/currency movements. Hmmm.....

MajorMajor

The Aurigny webpage giving info on its fleet says it has 7 different types of plane in a fleet of 11 planes (though the page hasn't been updated in a while - it says a next generation Dornier is due to enter service in late December 2015).

If you were designing an airline from scratch you would never set it up like this. It's cheaper to have a smaller number of aircraft types with staff and technicians trained and able to work on that single (or those few) type(s) of plane.

Aurigny isn't starting from scratch, but a long-term strategy to simplify everything can't do any harm.

Viscount Lover

I am in agreement with GM, I think Darby is on an empire building exercise, his aim seems to be to get Aurigny flying to as many routes as possible from Guernsey.

In the last year or so Aurigny have started new routes to Norwich, Leeds Bradford, Barcelona & have just gained a licence to operate to London Luton – all new routes incur considerable start up costs & I’m not sure that the once a week Norwich & the few flights that operated to Barcelona were actually worth the time, money or effort.

Darby blames an old aircraft that needed corrosion treatment for some of his increased costs, I believe this aircraft is G-HUET - 17 year old machine, I have to wonder why it was purchased & if he did really expect an aircraft of this vintage to be trouble free. The same can be said for two of the three Dorniers in the fleet G-LGIS (28yrs old) & G-SAYE (31 yrs old) which haven’t flown since early September – having these aircraft out of action must be costing Aurigny/The Taxpayer thousands of pounds, perhaps Darby could offer an explanation to this & for how much longer the decrepit Trislanders will be flying to cover for technical Dornier aircraft – the Tris’s should have been phased out by now I believe.

Alderney needs a lifeline air route I agree, but fir a population of a few thousand that route should be to Guernsey only, Aurigny should be allowed to drop the loss making route to Southampton with immediate effect.

Why do Aurigny not offer the Embraer out for charter on quiet winter weekends? There is a niche market to be had with an aircraft of that size & they are missing out on lucrative revenue.

Aurigny are now the sole ground handler of commercial passenger flight within the terminal, as well as themselves they look after Flybe, Blue Islands, Cityjet & Air Berlin. I wonder if this operation is cost effective or should Aurigny themselves be ‘handled?’

In my opinion Aurigny needs to trim it’s route network to Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol. Jersey is now a dead market used mainly by business folk – the leisure passengers are long gone so I would leave well alone despite recent calls for them to return.

Inflite catering should be charged for, in this day & age no one expects ‘freebies’ on board & maybe a one off baggage charge could be introduced. I also wonder how much the 1000’s of Guernsey Presses that are given away on board cost the airline each week?

I doubt anyone at Frossard House understands the working/economics of an airline & that is why anything fed to them from Darby & his management team is treated as gospel - this has to change! We cannot afford to fund the airline anymore, it’s time to trim it down/turn it around or shut it down completely & let new carriers in – however I can’t think of a single airline that would be interested in flying here.

On another note the CAA website is showing Aurignys' aircraft as 'possible ownership change in progress'

Are they all being sold & then leased back to save funds I wonder?

Alvin

Was n't the aircraft sold G-BWDB, and did Mr Darby not infer that it was replaced by G-HUET, when we all know that G-HUET was acquired on lease to serve the LCY route ? ( A route that by Aurigny's own admission years before was that it could not be profitable and a route that G-COBO and G-VZON, as well as G-NSEY, can not operate to ). G-BWDB was supposed to have been disposed of years ago but was kept on as a back up.

Alvin

G-BWDB is now HB-ALQ of Zimex - wonder if they know about the corrosion ??

Viscount Lover

Yes DB was sold a few weeks ago. & ET arrived last year specifically to serve London City - it cannot act as a proper back up for any other ATR or Embraer as it has less seats as did DB, thus many pax have suffered offloads at times of technical delays. The other ATR's do operate to LCY & the Embraer could if crews were trained - BA operate the same a/c type into LCY.

Alvin

No, sorry VL, the 195 can not operate into LCY. BA use the 190s.

Wrangler

Aurigny jumped into LCY as soon as Blue Islands applied to operate it as an extension of their JER LCY operation. Sort of dog in the manger.

Devil's Advocate

He does have a point in that economies of scale and the diverse nature of the business are against it. There doesn't seem to be any easy way out other than adjusting the routes they fly and the frequency they fly them, and altering the fares. If the island is not careful we'll end up in a Condor situation - frequency will be reduced to ensure all flights are full and there will be no resilience in the system to cope with failure - so when a flight is cancelled it's passengers won't be able to get to their destination for a couple of days because there are hardly any other flights and they're all full already.

Their fare model follows that of the industry in general so anything different is unlikely to work, and in reality is only inflexible flyers that get stung - if you want to travel on the busy flights you'll pay through the nose unless you book well in advance. If you're able to fly at lunchtime instead of the redeye/teatime you'll save money, if you want to fly on a Thursday instead of a Friday you'll save money. That is exactly the same as Easyjet - my family and I regularly fly with them between Gatwick and a major european city and the Aurigny leg is often the same price. This summer I flew elsewhere in Europe with them and my connecting Aurigny Gatwick flights were cheaper than the Easyjet ones.

Alvin

The fare model across most of Europe now is to offer low price, non-refundable flights with no luggage, in addition to the semi-flexible and fully flexible fares that permit one piece of checked in luggage. Even the likes of Swiss and Lufthansa are doing that.

This could be introduced on the inter-island flights as well as the UK flights.

Devil's Advocate

This is true, but the variation in cost dependent on how far in advance you book is the same, and that's the main subject of criticism. Once you pay for luggage the prices charged by Easyjet etc. are not much different to Aurigny. Will Aurigny sell lots more seats if they're £30-40 cheaper without luggage? I doubt it, people will just carry less luggage when they can.

Alvin

And of course the Dorniers and the ATRs are not suitable for large items of hand luggage.

But still something could be done on the Embraer flights to Gatwick. And especially on the inter-island flights, which could also offer last minute special day returns to fill unsold seats and increase the number of day trips.

Captain Oveur

It is an extraordinarily poorly managed airline with the man at the top to blame.

It has been said that one of the "new Dorniers" may never even fly due to lost log books. Another one supposedly has an issue which prevents it from being loaded with bags. It sounds like the entire procurement process of the Dorniers was a shambles and millions of islanders money lost in the process.

guern abroad

Aurigny should be run as a community service and not be driven by profit but neither should it be driven with poor lead which is what I think the last 5+ years have had. Both caused by miss direction from the SoG and from Aurigny themselves.

Aurigny should be taking back inter island flights, Jersey situation is a mess (the code share agreement what a balls up and now look at where we are). Gatwick is required as is Alderney (but sort out the Dorniers, another mess).

Free drink and newspaper all very well but they cost and are not needed, lose them.

Get the service right get people coming (business and tourists) and the price will be right and the tax payer exposure will be less.

Young Local

I've done some calculations from the June 2016 figures compared to the flights flown:

Bristol - 29 return flights - 4176 seats available - 2656 used - 64% seat occupancy

Dinard - 17 return flights - 646 seats available - 232 used - 36% seat occupancy

East Midlands - 30 return flights - 4320 seats available - 3049 used - 71% seat occupancy

Leeds Bradford - 16 return flights - 1800 seats available - 1347 used - 75% seat occupancy

London Gatwick - 118 return flights with Jet, 48 return flights with ATR - 35704 seats available - 26498 used - 74% seat occupancy

London City - 46 return flights - 4600 seats available - 2426 used - 53% seat occupancy

London Stansted - 30 return flights - 4320 seats available - 2749 used - 64% seat occupancy

Norwich - 4 return flights - 400 seats available - 393 used - 98% seat occupancy

Manchester - 57 return flights - 8208 seats available - 5889 - 72% seat occupancy

Alderney flights:

Guernsey - 134 return flights - 5092 seats available - 2845 used - 56% seat occupancy

Southampton - 88 return flights - 3344 seats available - 1960 used - 59% seat occupancy

Don't think some of these comments about some routes making a certain profit/loss are correct in my opinion when compared to these figures.

Viscount Lover

It's not about seat occupancy, it's about yield. Crossair/Swiss used to operate a daily flight to ZRH from GCI/JER & most days it was a full flight, however it was axed due to low yield.

Alvin

It was axed because Credit Suisse stopped subsidising the route.

Alvin

Where did you get those figures ? CAA or the States ? According to http://www.guernseytrademedia.com/sites/default/files/pax_by_route_month_2016.pdf your figures look reasonably accurate except for Norwich which had a much lower take up.

Good work and interesting stats.

Young Local

I got mine from the CAA here: http://www.caa.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CAA/Content/Standard_Content/Data_and_analysis/Datasets/Airport_stats/Airport_data_2016_06/Table_12_2_Domestic_Air_Pax_Traffic_Route_Analysis_PDF.pdf as you state there is some fluctuation in the figures.

Thanks

guern abroad

Those figures look better than I had expected.

Young Local

Agreed some do, some don't. The ones below 60% need to be worked on, to increase it, either by lowering the frequency or lowering the price/change of time etc.

Think the main problem with Aurigny is that they keep everything in house, if some of this was outsourced it would be likely to save them a shed load of money.

GM

Young Local

Looking down that list:

Bristol - hand it over to Blue Islands who already fly there. It will never make money with two operators on the route.

Dinard - reduce frequency or drop.

East Midlands - reduce frequency now that Leeds/Bradford route exists. The two routes compete with each other to a degree.

Gatwick - sort out the ridiculous fare structure. The range of fares can be considerably narrowed. The cheap fares don't need to be as cheap and the top fares are so expensive that nobody will buy at that price. Should be minimum £125 return, maximum £250 return.

London City - give route to Blue Islands if they want it, as they already fly there from Jersey. If not then not drop it. Competes directly with Gatwick. Route will never do anything other than lose money. Often flies with just half a dozen passengers on it.

Stansted - reduce frequency or change times so it can replace London City as a commuter flight (train into Liverpool Street) like it used to be.

Norwich - once a week in summer seems to be fine.

Manchester - fare structure needs tweaking as per London to raise seat occupancy rate. Football fixtures have quite an impact.

Alderney - apart from in peak holiday season there are far too many flights. Reduce Guernsey from 5 to 3 or 4 per day, and reduce Southampton from 3 to 2 per day.

Cut the free drinks and newspaper. Not including Alderney there were circa 45,000 passengers in June getting a free drink. Assume that 50% of those would pay £1.50 per drink. That's £34k of extra revenue, which equates to £400k annually - which would go straight to the bottom line.

Not sure how much Aurigny actually pay for the newspapers, but let's assume it's a discounted 50p. It isn't handed out on all flights, but let's assume if is handed out on to just 10,000 of the monthly 45,000 passengers. That's still £5k per month or £60k per annum, so between the free drinks and free newspapers that would immediately improve net profitability by around £460k per annum.

It's hard to fully annual use June figures because of seasonality on some routes, but 45,000 seats occupied (excluding Alderney) in the month equates to circa 500,000 passengers per annum. If Alderney losses of £1.4m are stripped out of the £4.6m losses, then the remaining £3.2m losses equates to £6.40 per seat sold. That really ought to be easy to trim down to a loss of £2 per seat sold, which would bring a £3.2m loss (excluding Alderney) down to a £1m loss.

Above all, a different pricing strategy would help fill empty seats. Raising seat occupancy by 10% would quickly recoup that £6.40 per seat loss.

Alvin

According to the Guernsey Airport stats, there were only 1055 passengers on the Norwich route from when it started end of May through to August. Even on a weekly basis, using the smaller ATR42, is it worth it, especially bearing in mind that some of those passengers would have used Stansted if there had been no Norwich flight.

Blue Islands as a Flybe franchise would be an interesting prospect for LCY as Flybe have been building up their presence there.

If not, unless Aurigny has its own franchise agreement with, say, the likes of BA, then that route will always bleed the airline dry.

With no LCY agreement, passenger numbers would increase for LGW and STN.

Another possibility is to drop not just Norwich, but also LCY and Stansted. LCY operated by BI/Flybe and instead of Stansted, get Stobart, ( another Flybe partner ), to invest in Southend, ( and maybe Dublin ), flights to Guernsey.

The only route that should be maintained regardless if it loses money is the Alderney route as they have no alternative means of transport. Pity there was not a smaller passenger only fast ferry operating between Guernsey - Alderney - Jersey and St Malo.

But Alderney should not be losing so much money - and in the past the blame for the losses was given as being due to the high cost of maintaining the Trislanders. Now those losses have gone up due to the poor decision to buy old, second hand Dorniers. And passenger numbers keep falling - mainly because flights are too expensive.

Time for Aurigny to follow suit and introduce low, no-luggage, non-refundable fares on the flights to Alderney, Gatwick and maybe elsewhere. Also, especially for Alderney, offer on the day special day returns at a low price for any unsold flights in order to try and get day trips to Alderney back on the table once again. Alderney now gets 30 % less passengers every year than 20 years ago - whereas Guernsey gets almost 30 % more !

Hopefully Flybe and BI will do the same on the Jersey-Guernsey route and then tourism can be increased for both Guernsey and Alderney.

Alvin

Looking again at those stats, one once again has to ask why the Norwich route was started when Stansted and LCY are not doing that well. I would assume that the finance industry and chamber of commerce probably were nagging Aurigny for direct flights to LCY, even though Aurigny knew that they could probably not make it pay. But who asked for Norwich ? Who asked for Barcelona ?

The only way one can get the LCY to break even and maybe become profitable is with a franchise agreement with BA/BA Cityflyer, just as Eastern Airways has on the LCY-IOM route.

In fact, such a franchise agreement could be used on the LGW and MAN routes as they would connect very well with BA's network from those airports.

That would put GCI on a level footing with Jersey with regards to connectivity.

I can see the rationale behind Leeds/Bradford, though maybe Glasgow should have been considered in addition or instead of Leeds. Glasgow or Edinburgh would also provide good connectivity on to the BA network if they were operated as a BA franchise.

Other routes such as East Midlands and Bristol could be retained as they can be made profitable if sufficient marketing is direct regionally at those areas, and a choice of either Stansted or Norwich should be made but not both.

As suggested by some previously, maybe Rennes would be a better option than Dinard, or Caen.

Viscount Lover

Eastern Airways do not have a franchise agreement with BA.

They operate services for BA who have leased them in to operate certain services, the IOM route being one.

Alvin

Ah... thanks for the correction... though I still believe that some sort of deal could be possible as BA do have other small airlines as franchise partners.

no1native

What happened to poor old Alderney's flights?

Alvin

I would say absolutely essential to maintain but with the new Ruag Do228NGs - not the old second hand ones or the ancient Trislanders.

russm

Young Local

Is there any way of finding out the average price of the seats booked? If people had more information they could have more informed opinions. I believe the fare structure is totally incorrect and means people now only travel when absolutely necessary. Gone are the days of going away for a weekend at short notice. Aurigny killed the inter-Island market many years ago when they ditched their 'taxi' service between the Islands and increased prices enabling Blue Islands to enter the market and compete with them. The mess they are now in is all their own fault and goes back to the time of Malcolm Hart who was a disaster.

Young Local

I dont believe there is im afraid, would be very good to see though.

Wrangler

So many experts! When Darby finally goes, at least the States will have no problem replacing him:-)

Biggles

Very true. There are plenty of suitably qualified people for the role. Move this guy on and lets get someone in there who can run it at Zero Cost to the taxpayer (Which is more likley what the States want rather than the suggestion it should break even).

And if Alderney is to be part of the Aurigny service requirement. There is no reason not to seperate the costs and operation of this element to ensure it provides an exact cost of the Alderney Service. And that could be run by grant from the states as the provider of the obligation for the service to and from Alderney.

Or the current experts running it can tell everyone that if they want Aurigny to run at zero cost, they have to end routes?

So end the routes and get on with running as you were asked...

Alvin

"move this guy on"....

That is the problem. Once one gets one of those cushy public sector jobs, one is set for life.

People in senior positions are not moved out but on... to another, often newly created and totally meaningless, position in the States.

Mars

Rather than put the price up and reduce the service why not put the price down and look to increase the number of flights!

30 odd years ago I learnt about supply and demand at school, maybe Aurigny should look at the concept of making a lower profit on far more passengers. The States should consider this as well as we are picking up the bill.

I booked a trip to Manchester recently and of the £138 I paid for each of us £50 was in respect of landing fees, fuel & security surcharges. If these charges were not applied I would only have paid £88 each and at that price I would be inclined to travel regularly, you could even justify the cost of a day trip to go shopping or to the football. I realise some charges are levied in the UK, but it's time to negotiate on these.

Similarly, this would have the same effect on people travelling to the Island. We could then be a viable tourist destination. As it stands it is more expensive to get here from Gatwick than it is to travel to many European destinations

Five and Dry

What a mess the States have made of owning an airline. As recovery action, has it been considered to remove all Aurigny management and bring in an established airline, perhaps Blue Island, to run the airline.

guern abroad

Really, no thank you.

Rubberman

I'm afraid I have to agree with other comments; management out of their depth who refuse to listen to experienced aviation professionals, out of touch with economics and line operations, clutching at straws, throwing figures at the travelling public without backing them up with hard facts. Decisions that should have been made many years ago are now revealing the lack of strong management both then and for the future. When key figures are proven not to be up to the job it's time for their employers and shareholders to say thank you and goodbye. It's also time for the employer/shareholders to put up your hands and admit you got it wrong. Find a good management team now-very soon it will be too late.

Beanjar

The States are just letting this clown ruin what's left of our tourist industry and bankrupt the island. The fares have just risen continuously since he took over. We are now having to pay double what we were just a few years ago. Does anybody remember how the airline "was going to be more profitable if only they had the monopoly" - LIE! And how being given a shiny new jet would bring about lower fares - another BIG, FAT, STINKING LIE! He is a disaster, practically anybody could do a better job. Why not put Gollop in charge?

Chris

You forget most aviation costs are in Dollars. Look how weak the Pound is against the Dollar. Lowest for 31 years? That puts up Aurigny's costs and are outside of their control.

MD does a good job, better than some of those posters who think they are experts but in reality know little.

Alvin

Are fuel contracts not arranged months in advance and as the big drop in the value of Sterling only occurred in the summer, the effects of a stronger dollar will only hit the airlines next year ?

That is what we were told two years ago when the big slump in oil prices occurred and people were asking why fares were not going down even though oil dropped to less than half of what it was ?

The fact is that oil prices - and thus aviation fuel - should have been much cheaper in 2015 and the first half of 2016.... which makes the current losses of Aurigny even more alarming.

GM

Alvin

That same thought had crossed my mind as well. I'm struggling to see why/how Brexit could have affected this latest accounting period.

GM

Chris

On what basis do you make that case in your second paragraph? How on earth can you say that MD "does a good job"?

Chris

However good bad or indifferent MD is, he would still be streets ahead of the armchair experts and barrack room lawyers on here.

But hey ho, this is a forum set up to attract readers of the GP. Sadly it seems to attract 6 year olds.

GM

Chris

It increasingly looks like you may actually be Mark Darby trying to defend himself. I guess he/you need all the help he can get.

No coherent route strategy. No ability to control costs. A complete lack of "presence" when talking in public or to the media. Sorry - not a very good CEO at all.

Viscount Lover

I worked in the industry for 20 years, I think I know a little of what I'm talking about.

GM

Oh - so you are both Chris and Viscount Lover? Need to take care when you post.

You might have worked in the industry for 20 years but I suspect your experience is totally irrelevant to the current issues and challenges.

Alvin

Chris... personally I think Aurigny, ( the management and the shareholders ), have made serious errors during the past few years. I am sure that Mr Darby will take responsibility for some of those errors but the blame also lies with the States.

The purchase of the Embraer - although highly desirable, ( lovely to fly as a passenger on ), was it really essential ? ( The island could have had several Gatwick rotations operated by Aurigny and two or three operated by Easyjet ).

Delays in purchasing the Dorniers resulting in panic buying of two old Dorniers.

Lack of standardization of the fleet. Should have been, by now, only two types : ATR-72-500 and Do228NG.

Introduction of new routes especially Barcelona, Norwich and LCY.

Fare-structure.

Blue Islands code-share agreement.

No progress with a sensible code-share agreement/franchise with a large international airline, ( and Mr Darby should have contacts with Etihad Regional due to his work between Baboo and Darwin ).

Operational problems.

Poor marketing and missed opportunities ( their Aurigny Breaks programme being one ).

No re-painting of Guernsey on the sides of G-VZON and G-COBO when they were repainted.

On the plus side, they are a nice little award-winning airline with a good reputation and have made some improvements. Such as the "London All Airports" option on their website. But these small improvements and feathers in the cap do not count for much when stacked against all the problems of recent years including the mounting losses.

Chris

PS

In reality, cost of flights to London are at an all time low allowing for inflation. You can't please some people who don't want to pay the true cost.

Check out BEA fares to Gatwick in the 60's compared to Aurigny today. You'd be surprised what % of the average weekly wage those flights cost.

GM

Chris

That argument may be relevant to island residents, but not to tourists who in comparative terms can get flights to elsewhere at a tiny fraction of what they would have paid in those days.

Beanjar

I cant believe what I'm reading! I don't have to go back to the 1960's to compare flight prices, I didn't regularly start flying to Gatwick until around 2000. And at that time I regularly paid £50 return, sometimes there was a 2-for-1 promotion which made it £25 per person return. Now what is the very cheapest fare - £124 return! Over that period inflation has been just over 50% (BofE figures). Forget the £25 promo fares, that £50 return ought to be less than £80 now - but it actually costs more than three times as much - double the rate of inflation.

Why are you sucking up to Darby with this nonsense propaganda, Chris? If he has absolutely no control while conditions are so easy, what would the fares be if we had high inflation, high aviation fuel costs, he lost his monopoly or his aircraft became unreliable?

Chris

Not sucking up just putting the truth.

Don't you see that the promotion you quoted showed each airline was in a price war selling seats under cost. One pulled out or more pulled out.

I don't agree your costs, there are cheaper fare available than £124 return, but don't let the facts get in the way of a rant eh?

Alvin

Yes there are 98 quid returns though very few during the remainder of this year.

Was n't Aurigny planning to change the fare structure anyway with flight to Guernsey from the UK being 13 quid more due to the APD ? So, for example GCI-LGW being 36 quid and LGW-GCI being 49 quid. As practically every other airline does.

And isn't is time that Aurigny start non-refundable, no-luggage fares like other airlines ? One could see such a fare on the Gatwick route being as low as 29 quid on the GCI-LGW route, with semi flex fares with one suitcase being in the region of 59 quid, and full flex fares in the region of 149 quid, with the LGW-GCI flights being all 13 quid more.

Earl Granville

Post war the nationalised British airlines BEA, BOAC and briefly BSAA were the only British carriers licenced to fly scheduled services out of the UK and the government made it extremely difficult to run Charter Airlines. They nationalised airlines were supposed to fly British built aircraft sometimes to the detriment of passenger safety (two BSAA Avro Tudors with paraffin cabin heaters! disappeared without trace and their Avro Lancastrian 'Stardust' has only recently been found). The fact is these were different times and the government subsidised the flag carriers including BEA regardless of commercial common sense (much like the Aurigny situation now). A similar situation existed with British Rail who operated the mailboats - huge numbers of British Rail staff travelled here for free on the mailboats and British Rail (Sealink) staff travelled for free on the railways. These British Rail staff holidaying in Guernsey and Jersey spent an awful lot of money here (it was a cheap place to come on holiday booze, fags and petrol were cheap - not now though!!)

The fact is times have changed.

Interestingly BSAA were the first scheduled airline to fly out of London Heathrow - the government had told them to use Bournemouth but their CEO just ignored the instruction and used Heathrow. Richard Branson's mother was a 'stargirl' a BSAA stewardess. Just imagine how awful rail travel would have been if she'd worked on one of those missing aircraft!!

Alvin

And post war the Channel Islands refused initially to have their own private airlines nationalised but were bullied by the UK government into submission with the threat that no flights would be allowed from the CI to the UK !

Earl Granville

Yes it was up there with British Railways producing 'Standard Class' steam locomotives ten years after everyone else had given up building steam engines and then having some of them making one journey on rails factory to scrap yard.

Imperial Airways took a long time to die.

Runs with Scissors

Why do Aurigny not gather information from their customers when they book?

Questions like, are you connecting to an onward flight, if so where from? Are you travelling for business? Will you be getting the train to London? If travelling for business in London why did you choose LGW or LCY? Do you have another flight with us already booked for the future?

Seems to me like Aurigny need to get to know their customers a lot better and use some of that data to plan for the future. They seem to be stabbing blind at routes and hoping for the best, resulting in connections that are not in demand.

Who wants to go on a week long city break to Barcelona? If there had been a rotation on this route first thing Fri morning and another Mon evening, no doubt it would have been a sell out. Giving the long weekend and week trip options.

Who wants to fly to Norwich? It's not a heavily populated area of the UK, no useful onward connecting flights, not easy to get to anywhere from there by road or rail? The mind boggles at this decision!

The best suggestion so far would be to drop LCY, Norwich, Barcelona and Dinard. Take steps to streamline maintenance by moving to a fleet of identical planes. Flatten the airfares to make them say between £150 - £300 return at fixed points. Get rid of in flight drink and paper.

Rupert Walthumstow

Your last paragraph nails it. Why is there a need for all these nonsense routes? I would add Leeds Bradford in there too. It's a train ride from the much better connected Manchester.

If Aurigny ran routes to Manchester (maybe twice/day), Gatwick (however many needed), Southampton and Jersey, I suspect a/ they would very easily break even and b/ very few would complain even if there were small loses.

Stop empire building!

Even a GP every day, assuming you have ~100 copies per flight, three rotations per day @ 20p a go (assume they get a discount) saves £30k p.a. on Gatwick alone, and I would suggest that's pretty conservative numbers.

Devil's Advocate

"Why do Aurigny not gather information from their customers when they book?"

Nail. head. The same goes for the States - every single person travelling to and from the island should be surveyed so the information is available to be acted on. Decisions based upon bad info are bad decisions!

"Who wants to go on a week long city break to Barcelona?" People wanting a week-long spanish beach holiday in places like Salou. There's more to the area than Barcelona itself, and if I were to fly to that area I'd be seriously interested in a low-hassle direct flight at less cost than two connecting flights...which is what Aurigny offered.

"Who wants to fly to Norwich?" Obviously enough people to fill up a weekly flight in summer. This is the way forward for the airline and island's tourist industry, great occupancy figures with minimal risk.

"The best suggestion so far would be to drop LCY, Norwich, Barcelona and Dinard."

I think Dinard is important for the French second home owners. But that only needs one or 2 flights a day. A survey of users would no doubt result in much better knowledge and a more efficient schedule. Rationalisation of the London routes is worth consideration, but were the LCY route dropped would the other routes cope? I'm sure many people using Gatwick would actually be better off going into LCY, they just haven't realised it yet.

Alvin

Passengers are sometimes surveyed at Guernsey Airport, not by the airline but by, I presume, the airport. I have been asked twice, I believe, once I gave information and the second time I declined.

Personally I do not usually participate in online surveys - but the Aurigny website could have that as an option.

But there was a lot of information gathered and published on the Strategic Airlinks report of last year, a lot of it relating to Aurigny, and people were invited to email in their opinions for the forthcoming Aurigny review.

With regards to the Norwich route, only 1055 people have flown on that between its commencement in May and the end of August. On at least one occasion the flight was cancelled, so that 15 rotations. Lets say another did not operate so down to 14. 1055 pax divided by 28 flights equals less than 38 pax on each flight.

How many of those 38 would have used Aurigny on a different route if there was no Norwich flight... in other words how many were lost from the Stansted route ?

Likewise, the London City route takes business from Stansted and Gatwick, both of which have surplus capacity on the Aurigny flights. But London City has only attracted 17423 pax from the beginning of 2016 to the end of August 2016 - and so with the approximately 700 flights flown during that period has only sold less than 25 seats per flight.

And Barcelona ? 8 flights with just 631 passengers on board in total, some of whom would have been free of charge and some would have been childrens fares and infants fares ??

See where I am going ?? These three routes are losing money and should never have been started. I am a big fan of LCY but without interline/code-share/franchise agreements to increase through traffic it is simply not going to pay. ( I may be a big fan of LCY but on the Guernsey route I prefer flying on the Embraer than the ATR ).

Dinard ?? Let those second home owners go by sea. Links with France are essential but Dinard/St Malo can be covered by a sea link... for air-links think of Caen or Rennes as they have much larger populations than the Dinard / St Malo area and have very good train links into Paris.

Manchester, East Midlands, Leeds, and Bristol are generating the number of pax required but maybe the number of flights have to be evaluated.

Wrangler

Dumbo! It's not who wants to go to NWI but who wants to fly out of NWI! And LBA! and LTN. You whinge and moan that Aurigny is destroying the Guernsey tourist industry but when it puts on Summer flights from the regions, you still whinge. Get used to it: you can't travel from A to B for peanuts. Even easyJet and Ryanair have sky-high fares but only the 'carrot' fares of a tenner get the publicity.

GM

Wrangler

But some of those regional routes are not "summer flights". They are (a) year round, and (b) too frequent. That's why they don't make money!

Runs with Scissors

Wrangler

Thanks for calling names, very mature debating.

However, to counter your point, Norwich is not a densely populated area of the UK at all. I can't imagine there are hundreds of people wanting to holiday in Guernsey that will only do so once they can fly from Norwich? They will already be living fairly close to either Stansted or East Midlands - so what has stopped them until now? Same goes for Leeds, it's only an hour on the train from Manchester!

I think Aurigny need to plan their routes around the needs of the local population, and if tourists want to come over they will have plenty of access to an airport at either London, Southampton, East Mids, Bristol and Manchester.

We don't have that many tourist beds, so why on earth do we need a lot on unsold aircraft seats?

Insider

Barcelona made money...thought it was a good idea myself

Alvin

Barcelona made money ?? Pull the other one its got bells on it !!

631 pax for 8 flights of which some of those pax were free or reduced fares as children or infants. Selling price in the range of 79 - 129 quid each for those adults who were paying.

Additional costs of setting up the route and the late opening of GCI - at least two of those four BCN-GCI flights arrived back just before or just after 11 pm.

And then at least two of the Saturday evening Gatwick flights were sold out because they were being operated by an ATR and not the Embraer.

Definitely lost money.

Curly

I agree with most of the writers above, most of which makes sense.

This airline would be better run by a team of unpaid volunteers, using a combination of their experience and common sense, to make all important strategic decisions. This 'Board of directors' to receive ( as a reward )an annual bonus based on performance.

Dave123

Reduce the prices, increase demand, basic economics. If the flights were say £75 rather than £100+ people would be much more inclined to go to London for the weekend with less notice and more frequently. Say what you want about Flybe/Blue Islands to Southampton but at least they start the fares pretty low in the first place (£60 return). Add a cheap megatrain to London and you can get there and back for under £80. More hassle but rather do that than give Aurigny my money.

Devil's Advocate

....and then Aurigny lose money, so you have to pay more tax to cover the losses.

MajorMajor

If the take up of flights are as high as the stats above say, then it's the operating costs that are killing the airline.

Aurigny has an unwieldy number of different types of aircraft that it's mechanics have to maintain and get parts for. The more types of plane, the more difficult the job.

No plane is suitable for every route so they are not easily interchangeable if one particular plane has a problem.

Even if a smaller plane could step in, it still causes problems because some passengers may have to be dealt with elsewhere.

Cabin crews and pilots will not be readily interchangeable, either, so Aurigny will have to employ more in-flight staff.

On top of that, Guernsey and Gatwick are fog magnets, but there's not much we can do about that.

Reduce the range of planes - choosing airports to fit planes rather than planes to fit airports - and savings will follow.

Rubberman

I think it's time that the 'management' team in Aurigny either need to go or learn some basic facts about aviation. Here's some good examples of wasting time and money. A Dornier from Southampton to Alderney is requested by Operations to return to SOU because the key to the baggage hold has been left behind. Waste of fuel, another landing fee-what were they thinking. Against the advice of the Chief Pilot and Head of Maintenance they buy a Dornier which is commercially useless, carries less passengers than a Tri and then put up a smokescreen about lack of Jet Fuel in Alderney limiting load factors. When they do get Jet fuel I bet the 'man in a suit' who was overheard to say "What excuse can we use now" wishes he'd said it somewhere more private. Then there is the Dornier which on closer inspection was discovered to have Car Filler used as a repair. I'm not saying Aurigny maintenance in any way used this but wasn't the aircraft checked before the cheque was signed. If you buy a car you'd at least ask the owner if it had ever been pranged. Perhaps 'Management' are thinking of letting Halfords do their future maintenance. Then there is the Fog. Nothing anyone can do about that. So why, all Summer, did Operations insist pilots launch, into weather conditions that were never going to improve, then complain to Guernsey ATC that the visibility being given by the Control Tower must be incorrect as Ops could see the runway from the office window. More fuel wasted, more airframe time clocked up, more pilot hours burnt away. This has all happened on the current managements watch. Maybe they are unaware of the catalogue of errors that has contributed to such a financial loss. If they are I suggest someone gets a chance to appear in Undercover Boss and then really see what the problems are. Trouble is, how can you change Mark Darby's appearance?

Alvin

Shall we take a wee peek at the not so distant past...

http://guernseypress.com/news/2013/08/13/aurigny-hopes-new-jet-will-put-airline-into-profit/

Andyjohn

It should be scrutinised but profiteering will turn it into the UK RAIL SCAM.

GM

Alvin

I agree with that analysis, but is there also a case for saying that the new Leeds/Bradford route will also dilute demand on the East Midlands and/or Manchester routes? A similar position to Norwich/Stansted?

Glasgow would be a better route option than either Norwich or Leeds/Bradford in my view.

With Condor's problems a French route is essential. Maybe the solution with Dinard is that the frequency needs to be reduced so that the remaining flights get filled. Twice a week to Dinard and twice a week to Rennes might be better - great rail links from Rennes to Paris.

GM

Alvin

Sorry - that was in reply to your 6.19 am post slightly higher up

Devil's Advocate

I wonder if they're looking to replace Stanstead with Luton? Stansted does a lot of Ryanair flights, what're Luton's connections like? The problem with the Stansted flight is it's in the middle of the day so onward connections in the morning can't be made.

Alvin

Yes... Glasgow and / or Newcastle look to me to be better alternatives than Leeds though I have been surprised as to how well Leeds is faring.

I think someone in Finance or CoC was nagging for a Leeds route, ( it was even mentioned in the Press ), and I get this impression that these people are inviting Mr Darby and Mr Coupar in for lunches and basically brainwashing them that routes such as LCY and Leeds are vital to the island's economy and will show that the island is "open for business" and all that.

Another interesting observation is the very short lead in time for new routes. BA usually plan and launch the marketing for new routes up to a year in advance and only in very extreme circumstances do they launch a new route at short notice. For Aurigny that is the norm.

The LCY route was launched just weeks - maybe less than two months - before it was due to start. Barcelona, Leeds and Norwich the same. For the little old ladies and couples who come over to Guernsey every year for their summer holidays - and I have met quite a few in recent years though their numbers are dwindling - they would have already booked their flights to Guernsey, using Stansted or Manchester, months ahead. And of course there are no little old tourists coming in from the Barcelona area.

Then, as pointed out elsewhere, it is still not possible to book flights for Easter 2017, let alone next summer.

All gives an impression that Aurigny are being run with no actual forward planning or long term strategies in place.

Gurnard

What a lot of comment has been generated in a very short time! A lot of sorting out needs doing at Aurigny. Basic common sense shows how money is being lost. Have a look at how much time certain planes spend on the ground as against in the air and generating revenue. Dornier 228 G-LGIS has been out of service since early July. On September 2nd it flew to Germany and hasn't been seen since. The other "old" machine G-SAYE has not been in service since September 7th. The Dornier plan seems to have been an unmitigated disaster. Why weren't Twin Otters considered? They seem to be used with success on the Isles of Scilly services. Couldn't we learn from that?

Another inept decision has been to lease an ATR72 from Danish Air Transport to cover the loss of G-BWDB which has been sold. The Danish aircraft flies on average one return trip a day. Economic sense??

We were told originally that ATR42 G-HUET was obtained to operate the LCY services. Since mid-September ATR72s have regularly been operating to LCY. Is that because load factors have improved significantly or is it because Aurigny want to increase their losses? Surely the costs are greater when it comes to using a larger plane on a fairly unpopular route. The mind boggles...

Alvin

Well spotted Gurnard !

G-HUET has for the past three weeks been everywhere but LCY ! Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Gatwick etc etc.

If the reason is that they need extra capacity on the LCY route because sales have suddenly boomed since 16th September then that's great news.

But....

With regards to the Twin Otter, Mr Darby will have experience with them from LIAT - albeit a long time ago and the aircraft are now very much different. The same goes for the Do228. The new 228NG is very much improved on the older aircraft - complete different flight controls requiring complete pilot retraining - and is perfectly able to serve the inter-island routes, ( and was even planned along with the ATR-42 in the license application for the LCY route ).

The mistake was delaying a decision until they missed the deadline for ordering the 228NGs and then being caught unprepared when the Trislanders started to being forced to withdraw from service... leading to panic buying of two old and now clearly seen pretty useless Do228s.

Gurnard

Interesting observations there Alvin about the Twin Otter. Aurigny did have a brief fling with that type about 35 years ago - but the aircraft today is a significant improvement.

As for the two dud Dorniers, isn't it time Aurigny got rid of them? It would be interesting to find out (if someone could) how many days G-LGIS and G-SAYE have operated since they were acquired by Aurigny and how many days they have been out of service. The latter will be far greater than the former, so is it any wonder Aurigny is running at a loss?

It doesn't need much common sense to say "enough is enough" and cut the losses on those two dud machines NOW. They need to be got rid of - fast! For the next few months surely Aurigny could carry on its Alderney, Southampton, and Dinard services with the Do.228NG (G-OAUR) as well as the three Trislanders which are still (reasonably) serviceable? Surely that would be a better interim solution until the other Do.228NG on order is delivered? The only problem is that some of Aurigny's management seem to be a little bit short of common sense....

Alvin

Ditto.

That's all I can say. Big mistake in buying them and best to get rid of them fast. The second new 228NG should be delivered soon so hopefully things will improve. But they should have ordered three back in 2012/2013.

Chris

Alvin

Makes good commercial sense to use HUET on MAN for example and COBO/VZON to LCY.

If a smaller plane can carry all the passengers then it would be cheaper to operate on a longer route than the bigger plane. An ATR42 is cheaper to operate per hour than an ATR72.

So it's cheaper to run COBO/VZON on the shorter route to LCY than to MAN.

HLeP

Their turnover is going to be affected by their complete failure to post their summer 2017 schedule too. I was needing to book LGW flights for end of March 2017, but the complete absence of any flights after 26 March 2017, and a series of "it will be soon" responses to my repeated e-mail enquiries, has forced me to book Southampton instead and take the train up as I really needed to know what we were doing. I'm sure I won't be the only one.

Alvin

Very true.... Easyjet are notorious for not opening bookings very far ahead but at least one can book their Gatwick - Jersey up to 25 June 2017. BA, on the same route, is already bookable up to the 27th September 2017.

Beanjar

I agree, I wanted to book a flight returning in mid April. Condor finally got round to issuing their schedule so I have booked with them instead. Incidentally I also just booked a flight on easyjet from LGW to Tenerife for £45, and that's about 2000 miles. If and when Aurigny can be bothered to issue their prices I'm sure the flights will cost a hell of a lot more than that. Aurigny's performance under Darby is simply pathetic, they are abusing their monopoly position and the people of Guernsey.

Alvin

If people have to turn to booking with Flybe because the Aurigny flights are not bookable that is bad enough... but if people are turning to Condor because the Aurigny flights are not bookable then really Aurigny are in a mess !

Earl Granville

We've been waiting since July to book flights to LGW to connect to a holiday we booked then. I keep getting emails from Aurigny telling me about wonderful offers that there are on their flights - you just can't book them.

In all seriousness if you book a holiday to the USA via Heathrow (or indeed anywhere via Heathrow) a Condor trip to Portsmouth and a taxi to Heathrow probably makes sense. Firstly you can actually book it, secondly you save money on the overnight accommodation at Heathrow (certainly no more than the cabin on the Clipper) and finally the taxi from Portsmouth costs no more than the Gatwick - Heathrow one. And of course if you book with an American carrier you can bring back more hold luggage from the US very cheaply which you couldn't get onto Aurigny without costing you an arm and a leg. Finally of course you can take grown up carry on bags with you - why is the Aurigny sizer at Gatwick smaller than the one at Guernsey airport? Do they expect the bags to shrink while your away from Guernsey?

BrianBlessed

Irrispective of the losses, I've been banging on at them for months about their website and its security. Nobody listens..

Check this out, it grades the domain security from A to F:

https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=aurigny.com&latest

(It's an F, in case you can't wait.. takes a couple of minutes to run)

I don't even think they should be taking credit card payments on aurigny.com with this level of security.

Guern

I have sat and heard all the arguments, but believe that we are all getting carried away here, one should be looking at the bigger picture.

What do Aurigny do for the Island, we all have heard that the runway should have been made bigger, but none of the cheap airlines are interested in coming here because we only have a captive audience of 650000 and it is not worth their while, if they did bring more tourist there is nowhere for them to stay.

But Aurigny bring in the business people that keep what business that is left in the Island going which in turn pays the into the general fund by means of the tax take.

We have seen the business with Jersey drop drastically since Aurigny pulled off that route, we have lost a lot of the weekend trade of sporting teams which in turn spent in the Island whilst here, so that tax take has dropped from the business that they would have spent in such as pubs clubs and restaurants.

I believe that we should have a fixed price system to Gatwick etc so you can book 6 months in advance or 6 hours but you know it will cost you £80 each way, I feel that you would get far more travelling and surely a full plane is more profitable than a half full.

One can go off on one with this subject but my personal believe is that Aurigny do a good job for the Island and it may run at a loss but the bigger picture must taken into account.

Often Confused

I think your point on pricing points e.g. cheaper fares but filling occupancy is a no brainer. It seems the Aurigny response for the airline to break even is to put up fares but in reality it deters customers from travelling in the first place (see over the past few years with lower occupancy). It's been mentioned previously in this feed but the whole cost model should really be looked at e.g. papers, drinks etc. What % of the passengers would really by upset over the loss of these services on a 35 minute flight and although on their own small, it's these types of incremental costs that add up quickly. There are unfortunately other considerations outside of Aurigny's control such as Guernsey landing taxes which don't exactly lend themselves to cheap fares.

I think other airlines may be interested in a Guernsey route but for, as you say, a relatively small market, why would they want to invest in an 'business unfriendly' environment where you're competing against a Government-owned airline which has an almost monopoly on loss-making air routes and seems happy to continue on this path.

GFC fan

Some great comments above.

Why don't we scrap all the other routes and keep Gatwick only. Gatwick is fine for both the business and leisure traveller.

Keep the costs of a return flight to fifty quid and you'll have full planes and a booming tourist industry. Moreover, it'll be decent prices for islanders who want to get away.

Insider

Bad idea, people need to travel to other places apart from LGW and I doubt there would be enough capacity to push everyone from the other places through LGW.. East Midlands for example is n not exactly closed to Sussex...

Beanjar

Aside from the essential Gatwick route, it doesn't matter where they fly so long as they don't have many empty seats and charge enough to not make huge losses. It is absurd that Darby can't grasp these simple facts of life and is allowed to keep wasting £ millions of our money every year. The States needs to replace all the top management with people who can do the job. But, unfortunately, they are completely useless and pointless too!

MajorMajor

How about Dorniers servicing the islands and identical larger planes flying to a limited number of conveniently placed airports going up the country - say Manchester and Edinburgh - then leave people to drive/ catch trains to and from the airport?

MajorMajor

... Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh ...

I say that as someone who appreciates the convenience of planes going all over the place, but if it brings down ticket prices to a sensible level then that's a bullet I'm willing to bite.

GM

One solution would be to "reclaim" the Jersey route off Blue Islands, and agree to pay Blue Islands/Flybe (say) £500k a year subsidy to help market/operate/fill 3 or 4 UK provincial routes to Guernsey. Aurigny could sell or lease its ATRs to Blue Islands as part of the deal.

That would leave Aurigny directly serving Gatwick, Jersey, Alderney and Dinard with the Embraer and Dorniers - a fleet of just two types of aircraft.

Blue Islands to enter into a partnership with Aurigny to provide cover with ATRs on charter if the jet or Dorniers go tech.

A win-win all round?

Chris

GM

No way should Aurigny enter into a partnership with Blueisland. BI should be able to claim the crown for the worlds worst airline. No taxpayer money to Derek Coates. They will be gone sooner or later. In my opinion the deal with Flybe is a last throw of the dice.

But I agree, Aurigny should restart the Jersey route.

GM

Chris

I disagree. They already serve Guernsey and we can influence them by helping them to develop for the benefit of the islands, upgrade their fleet etc

"Better the devil you know".