Fuel for Dorniers could be set to run dry in Alderney

A DECISION by Alderney Electricity to stop providing fuel for Aurigny’s Dorniers could cause more reliability problems for the airline.

aurignydornier_900
Picture by Mike Stedman

The electricity company said it would cease provision of the Jet A1 fuel after Christmas, but Guernsey Airport has warned of a delay in its tender process for finding an alternative provider due to ‘a few issues under discussion with the States of Alderney’.

Any delay could mean that the fuel, described by Aurigny as a ‘key element of providing reliable services’, would not be available at Alderney Airport.

AEL’s decision came after it informed Guernsey Airport more than a year ago that it wished to quit the loss-making service.

It said it had since not received a ‘substantive reply’.

However, Guernsey Airport said it was not its view that a substantive reply was required.

General manager Colin Le Ray said the States’ Trading Supervisory Board did not consider it had an obligation to provide fuel at Alderney Airport, but was prepared to search for an operator should one be willing to take it on.

Following AEL’s advice, a tender process began last summer.

Comments for: "Fuel for Dorniers could be set to run dry in Alderney"

Why

The costs incurred during a tender process must be astronomical, especially considering in this case it's just supplying a few hundred litres of fuel a day/week.

Chris

Amazing, which goes to show you can't help some folk.

I suggest Aurigny just pull out entirely if the States in Alderney can't organise their own airport to provide fuel.

Rupert Walthumstow

I suggest they just pull out of Alderney altogether. The SoA think they're useless apparently despite four return flights a day to Guernsey and Aurigny running a massive loss last year. If that's so bad why bother.

Alvin

Yet another daft comment.

Why don't you go so far and suggest evacuating the whole island !

You can not blame the large loss of Aurigny down on the people of Alderney. The alledged losses on the Alderney routes are only a small part of the total losses of the airline. What about the Dinard route ? What about the LCY route or the Barcelona route ? Did the people of Alderney insist on buying two pretty useless old Dorniers which have simply caused the airline to lose more money ? What about the claims of Aurigny three years ago that Aurigny would be breaking even by the end of 2015 ??

Rupert Walthumstow

Aurigny lost £4.5m give or take. £900k was from the Alderney route so they can certain accept some of the blame. There is also clearly other places that cost money as well though of course.

None of those other routes however then go and whine about how the four return flights a day service is insufficient and excessively expensive. Yet Alderney somehow think they have a God-given right to subsidised travel.

Alvin

No one from Guernsey is complaining ??

You see every week letters and articles in the press complaining about high fares and poor air-links from individuals and business groups ! You see every day complaints to that effect on social media.

You also see routinely complaints about the huge losses that the airline is making !

But you do not call for those people to stop whining and for Aurigny to pull out of Guernsey completely, now do you !

Let's look at a few more facts. The cheapest GCI-ACI fare is 46 quid. The combined airport charges ( GCI+ACI ) for that flight, if 2/3 thirds full, should be in the region of 15 quid. One can find GCI-LGW fares for as low as 37.65 end of next March and early April ! One can not even book flights to and from Alderney after 25 March 2017 ! They are not yet up for sale ! ( People have written in to the Press to complain about the high cost of the Gatwick flights next Easter but Alderney people can not even book their Easter flights yet ! )

Generally speaking there are sufficient flights - three to five rotations a day should suffice, but sometimes flights are getting sold out, and there were quite a few cancellations due to problems arising from the purchase of the wrong aircraft by Aurigny. But bear in mind, that on most weekends in the winter, there are only two rotations per day and on some of those dates flights are already sold out.

And remember that Aurigny should have started the Trislander replacement way before it actually did, landing up buying two very old Dorniers, one of them now withdrawn from service ! This has caused a huge loss to the airline. If they had ordered, much earlier, three brand new 228NGs they would have had them all in operation by now and surely could, with better pricing, make a success of the Alderney routes. They could drop the lowest fare to 35 quid, non-refundable and without luggage, have a semi-flexible fare with luggage of say 49 quid and a fully flexible fare with luggage of 75 quid, ( an increase of 14 quid ). Business travellers needing flexibility could pay the extra, if they wished, and there could be a huge boost in tourism for the island. In 1985 Alderney Airport handled 80000 passengers whilst Guernsey had about 700000 - 30 years later and Guernsey handled about 900000 whilst Alderney decreased down to less than 60000 !

I think Alderney residents have a right to complain - especially when Aurigny themselves keep on harping on how that route is losing money, ( but does not mention other loss making routes or the fact they have squandered needlessly money on purchasing the wrong aircraft ).

Devil's Advocate

Alvin, did you read yesterday's Press? Apparently the original plan was to get another operator to fly Dorniers for them, but that operator then took another contract thus leaving Aurigny in the lurch as it were.

Also, for your info, I flew on G-OAUR last week and it didn't refuel in Alderney.

Alvin

Yes DA.... I did read that. Thought at first that the two page spread would be interesting and give new insight into the airline but almost all of it had been covered previously and so I found it rather disappointing.

The comments about the other Dornier operator are interesting however - this company that supposedly was supposed to operate the Dorniers for Aurigny, is it not the same company that leased one to Aurigny for two weeks on trial back in 2013 and is it not the same company that sold Aurigny the very same machine two years later ? Very strange if all true.

Gurnard

DA, Alvin & all....

That other operator is Aero Vip - a small Portugese airline. I have flown with them. They have a couple of Do.228s and operate in mainland Portugal as well between Madeira and Porto Santo. It was indeed their aircraft that was used by Aurigny - CS-TGG which then became G-LGIS when it was purchased by Aurigny.

It certainly would be interesting to know if Aero Vip had a more lucrative contract that prevented them from serving Aurigny for a longer period. Can anyone enlighten us??

Saints

@ Chris

Nothing to do with the States of Alderney. It's the States of Guernsey through Guernsey Airport which run Alderney's airport.

AEL informed the Guernsey authorities over a year ago that it wouldn't be continuing this service.

Aurigny assured Alderney Electric that Jet A1 wouldn't be required when they went ahead and bought the Dorniers. Then after they bought these aircraft Aurigny then realised that Jet A1 would be required.

I find it incredible, but the impression one got was that Aurigny didn't realise what sort of fuel these aircraft would require.

Chris

I disagree Saints.

While technically you may be right, surely the States Of Alderney should be doing something to help themselves rather than just whinge on about everyone else.

It beggars belief the Sates of Alderney are paying Aurigny for extra flights when Aurigny can't buy fuel there to do the flights. Sure they can arrive with full tanks but that restricts payload.

As I said, you couldn't make this up. Maybe a plot line for This is Jinsy ?

Alvin

Correct me if I am wrong but I think the problem lies with the two second hand Dorniers, the new 228NG has no problem not refueling in Alderney.

Wings

Correct. The problem lies i8n the fact that the two aircraft were so heavy that they could barely carry any fuel with passengers and baggage (if you were lucky!) loaded.

The new aircraft (yet again bought not leased) doesn't suffer from the same problem.

Alvin

The question is whether Aurigny needs JetA1 to be available at Alderney. Surely the new Dorniers ( as opposed to the two second hand ones they purchased ) could be refuelled at Guernsey or Southampton.

In the printed Press article, AEL claim they hadn't sold Aurigny any JetA1 for nine days. Seems a bit of waste of having to maintain supplies just for the older Dorniers which, it has become crystal clear, were a very poor purchasing decision.

oldroyd

The Dornier has a range of over 600 miles so I cannot see the need to fuel in Alderney nobody else needs turbine fuel in Alderney as far as I am aware so a waste of time.

Chris

It's not as simple as that. Most ranges are quoted without reserves, or not MTOW, or other. Just like a car, 55MPG in the brochure, in practice you get 30MPG

Saints

Technically or not, yes I believe I am right.

This procurement of the Dorniers has been a complete fiasco.

Alderney Pressure Group had an interesting letter in the Alderney Press this week. Letter from Britten-Norman has given an assurance on the manufacture of 5 new Tri-islanders with single pilot operations and business case giving prices (more competitive than Aurigny).

This information has been passed onto Dep. Lyndon Trott.

Chris

You are entitled to your opinion just as I am. Alderney is a basket case and poor old Aurigny are getting the brunt of it.

If the Britten-Norman letter is authentic then good luck with that my friend! Hey, maybe AEL will happily stock Avgas for these new Trislanders they are going to get built. I wouldn't put any faith in the long term availability of Avgas.

Ahh Lyndon, the great wise one. You're not an Alderney resident Saints??

Alvin

Guys... I think you are both right and wrong. The Dornier acquisition was a fiasco and three brand new 228NGs should have been ordered and received ages ago - with the Trislanders disposed of.

The 228NGs do not appear to need to refuel in Alderney and so considerable savings could have been made not having JetA1 in Alderney.

On the other hand I simply do not believe that BN would start production of the Trislander purely on the basis of a single order of five Trislanders and, even if they did, the delivery date would be so far ahead in the future that Aurigny would not have anything to operate with on those routes. Furthermore, what on earth would Aurigny do with five Trislanders ?? The Jersey route has been discontinued - three aircraft would be more than enough for the Alderney routes as well as, if necessary, the Dinard route which anyway is not an essential route. Sorry to say but the Trislander is dead and buried. One could consider 4 Islanders as there are several hundred still flying around the world, but that is another matter. Do not even think that the spare parts are interchangeable between the two types.

Wings

BN are good at promising a lot and then regularly failing to deliver.

oldroyd

I fly a turbo prop and can assure you that on an that aircraft on either a Southampton or Guernsey route I cannot see any reason why you would need to pick up fuel in Alderney allowing for alternates, wind weight or anything else.

Head in the clouds

I have no idea what turboprop you fly but I can't think if a commercial turboprop a/c that does not have a payload vs. range (or endurance) decision to be made.

When the weather is perfect with no fog or other reason to hold/divert and the loads are less than full then its not an issue - like recently until half term, hence no uplift for 9 days. Also there has only been 1 Dornier flying.

To offer full payload the need for fuel will always be there and when the weather is poor.

I guess it costs a lot in labour, although the refueler in Alderney doesn't sit at the airport all day doing nothing - Aurigny ring in advance of requiring fuel and he leaves his normal job and comes to the airport.

A lot of small aerodromes in the UK and France have self service refuelling. Its just like a fuel pump that you use for your car but with a longer hose - you have the initial outlay and obviously ongoing costs but no bowser to maintain and no person required to drive it and dispense the fuel.

Failing that, at some airports the fire crew will do it, although I can see that going down well as they may say its not there job and would want more money.

Finally, not sure why the costs have gone up so much for AEL as avtur is easier to store than Avgas.

Maybe some input from someone at Rubis (GCI Airport) would be useful.

Rocquaine Pirate

Alderney what a crowd of wingers they get enough flights just leave them to themselves and pull out completely if they can find an airline to give them a better service than they have good luck to them, the ones that are moaning are all imports anyway.

Alvin

That has got to be the most daft comment so far. End of.

Chris

It is true however that the vast majority of Guernsey residents are getting more than a little fed up with the constant whinging coming from the northern isle.

Go it alone if you wish, link up with Jersey, whatever..

.

Woodman

@Chris. I don't see any Alderney folk wringing on this thread. What I do see are a few ill informed Guernsey people (yourself especially) with an axe to grind where Alderney is concerned.

The article is about an Alderney company, for commercial reasons, giving up the jet fuel franchise with plenty of notice and a Guernsey States owned airline which bought the wrong aircraft and has done nothing to ensure an adequate fuel supply for said aircraft.

I think that is something for ALL Bailiwick taxpayers to "whinge" about!

Alvin

Woodman... excellent comment !

Chris

I was speaking generally, not specifically about the fuel situation.

Woodman

Remove the final i and e from pirate.

Rupert Walthumstow

Do we keep the first i in though?

Rocquaine Pirate

Time for you to go back to school, half term is over. Sad child.

Viscount Lover

Aurigny already retired G-SAYE it's been in the fllet barely a year & has cost the taxpayer a huge amount of cash. They state that it's too heavy thus limiting the payload, well someone at Aurigny should have known this when they purchased it & went through the aircraft stats.

Heads should roll!

Hermite

It would be interesting to know the full story behind G-SAYE. I doubt the story that it is too heavy is true (there are lots of odd stories around) but it is on the UK register as a Dornier 228-200 which has a maximum take off weight of 5700 kg as opposed to 6200 kg for G-LGIS and 6400 kg for G-AOUR. This half tonne or more difference is presumably the source of its payload problems. The aircraft operated for Manx2 for some time whilst being registered in Germany. Did it have payload problems then? I should imagine the service from the IoM wasn't dissimilar to that expected of it now. Interesting to note though that when the aircraft is googled as D-IFLM (its previous id) it usually shows up as a Do 228-202K (the same type as G-LGIS) and occasionally as a Do 228-201. Was it downgraded for some reason when it moved from the German registry to the UK registry, and if so is this the source of the current problems with that aircraft?

Alvin

Very interesting Hermite. It explains a lot. G-SAYE was built in 1985, G-LGIS in 1988 and the specifications of the type did evolve during that period. G-OAUR is brand new and has even better performance, but required retraining of the pilots.

The question is why did Aurigny buy G-SAYE ? They should have from the start ordered three brand new 228NGs which would have been in operation by now, would not need to refuel in Aurigny and would have saved a hell of a lot of money !

Hermite

I was wondering if G-SAYE was entered onto the german register as a higher spec variant (it is possible to convert from the lower specs to higher, and indeed from higher to lower) and this wasn't accepted by the CAA for some reason, hence the problem. If the aircraft operated successfully for Manx2, then Aurigny may have assumed that it would also do for them.

I agree, ordering three new aircraft would have been the sensible thing to have done. It was reported on here not so long ago that that is what they wanted to do but the States wouldn't let them.

Devil's Advocate

The inflight magazine lists the 228-NG and 228-200 in the fleet. Engines are 331-5 or 331-10 variants, but it doesn't say which is in which airframes. The -10 variant is the NG engine for sure.

Trevor Hockey

Someone told me yesterday that people on holiday in Alderney could see a property for sale, think "That would be a nice retirement home for Granny", they buy it, Granny gets frail and falls on the Guernsey health services despite having paid in zilch.

Does it happen.? Be very interesting to know, as a Guernsey taxpayer I really do not want to finance the welfare of immigrants in this way. Perhaps Alderney need to update their housing laws if it does happen.?

I thank Deputy Parkinson for his robust response to the Alderney requeteers, it seems that Alderney are excellent at wanting their cake and eating it too, we in Guernsey also have our trials and tribulations.

Alvin

Some one once told me that there is a jolly big white bearded man in a red tunic who comes once a year and gives me presents if I am a good boy.

Must be true cos I used to wake up on the same morning every year and find presents. Mind you, it has not happened for many decades so I guess I have turned in to a right old sh*t !

Douglas White

Presumably you could move to the UK, and register with the NHS whereby immediately your GP appointments, ambulances, A&E and hospital admissions are free of charge and if you can find an NHS dentist you'll also get a subsidy on that too without paying a penny into their system?

I assume you could also, should the mood and finances allow, divorce the current Mrs Hockey, hitch up with a new model, move her here and registered with HSSD before the ink is dry on the Parish register?

100% Carre.

Just a thought why dont auringy invest in a few good twin rota helicopters, could be a tourist attraction as well , no need for runway expenditure can land in smaller spaces. Could do jersey quite easily even sark , how many people tourists and alike would pay for that , ?????

Wings

Because they are vastly more expensive to operate I'm afraid.

Gurnard

No Dornier requiring fuel for nine days? Others have pointed out that G-SAYE has been "retired" since early September. The other Dornier that has seen better days (G-LGIS) has been in Germany since the 2nd September. From the 15th October the newer machine (G-OAUR) was undergoing maintenance and for at least 6 days did not fly. The airline has been relying on Trislanders recently. On occasions all three have been flying on the same day.

Interestingly a lot of Aurigny staff (aircrew and ground handlers) have no idea what is going on with the Dorniers. Does Aurigny management know? IF Dornier G-SAYE has been retired, why keep it in the hangar? It could be parked outside near to poor old JOEY that seems to be going nowhere. Probably G-SAYE has finally become an embarrassment to the airline and we're not meant to see it. As the tax-payer always comes to the rescue there's not a problem in it using up hangar-space long-term. Aurigny management know the hand that feeds them.

Gurnard

Someone at Aurigny must be reading these comments all the time! Within seconds of posting the above, G-SAYE was pulled out of the hangar for a breath of fresh air - perhaps to disappear quickly again to continue its "retirement".

Rainer

My suggestion: Don't just write on here. Send a letter or speak to your deputy about it. Ask for an official investigation into the Dornier purchase process.

- Who was responsible for the decision to buy the old second hand dorniers and what was the basis of this decision / why weren't new dorniers ordered from RUAG in time to take over

- Why are the two second hand dorniers not in service and what are Aurigny's plan for the future with those

Responsibility, Accountability, Consequence - it's not about seeing heads roll but about preventing the same mistakes to happen again in the future.