Services meet critical needs – Condor review

CONDOR’S services meet the two critical needs as laid down in its agreements with Jersey and Guernsey, its first comprehensive service review has found.

Condor Liberation_900
Condor says in its comprehensive service review that it says no need to replace Liberation

These are to provide a safe, compliant and sustainable lifeline ferry service for both freight and passengers and a reliable year-round freight service.

But the review also found that the company’s services are fully aligned with only four of the nine key needs.

They include the prioritisation of freight services and the continuation of high speed travel to and from the UK and France.

The 212-page review, which it worked on with the States of Guernsey and Jersey, also reveals that it does not see a need to replace the frequently criticised Liberation fast ferry, particularly in light of favourable independent reports from the Jersey harbour master and safety consultants.

But it will look to replace Condor Rapide with another fast ferry for St Malo and is open to the idea of a similar type of ship to the Clipper, which carries passengers as well as freight, when the time comes to replace the freight-only Goodwill.

A dedicated inter-island service will not happen unless subsidies are offered by the two islands.

Such a service would need more than 273,000 passengers a year to be a financial success, the review says, while the historic maximum is just over 99,000.

Comments for: "Services meet critical needs – Condor review"


But the liberation still can't dock when there is the slightest hint of a breeze.

Do you really need 156 pages to say that? People don't like, they don't want it, and its putting people off coming to the Islands.


Wash White. Rearrange into well known phrase!


Well they would say that wouldn't they!

Out of our last 5 trips, 3 were disrupted or cancelled -not good eh Mr Luxton? I don't expect the remains of our tourist industry will agree with this piece of whitewash! I cant comment on the freight services, my concerns are with our failing passenger services.

Unfortunately, we are also being taken to the cleaners by Flybe and its associate.


How much did this whitewash cost us?


Probably not as much as the reputational damage will cost the tourist industry.


Phew ! That's ok then , there was me thinking we had a .......ferry service with timed sailings that did nothing to encourage tourism, a ship that no one would choose to travel on etc etc Be interesting to hear Peter Ferbrache thoughts on this and Guernsey tourism industry.


The only two requirements it meets are; 1. Its a boat . 2. It Floats .

Election Issues

Condor does not see a need to replace Liberation, particularly in light of favourable independent reports from Jersey harbour master and safety consultants.

How independent?

So Condor does not feel it necessary to replace a Liberation or add any more vessels to the UK route........but......Condor might be open to the idea of introducing a new conventional car ferry to its fleet, but only if governments of Jersey and Guernsey look at extending its ten year operating licence or contribute towards the cost!!!!!!

Mr Luxon?


Oh well, if Guernsey States, Jersey States and Condor have agreed between them that what's being provided is the best possible in the current economic climate, then I guess we'll just have to put up with the very inconvenient late evening arrival times in Poole and St Malo and early morning departure time from St Malo.

A fellow poster on a related thread suggested that these timetables are due more to where the crew live and lay their heads at night than to the needs of the travelling public, can he be right? Or is it because the needs of the Jersey, French and UK travelling public are more important than those of the Guernsey travelling public - by virtue of the fact that there's more of them than us and so more money to be made out of them than us?


To use a rather rude but apt american phrase - they are merely 'blowing smoke up their own 'r'ses! Will everybody now start buying trips on the 'joke that floats'? Obviously not. Passenger numbers will drop still further as the public resigns itself to an awful service with no improvement.

Devil's Advocate

You've got it in one Oskar - Condor concentrate on tourists wanting to visit the islands because there's a lot more of them than people living on it. That's why they chose Poole as their port - many more people live closer to Poole than do to Weymouth. That's why the sailing times are convenient for people in the UK or France and not us. We are but a pawn in their game. They probably only come to the CI because they can sell duty-frees and make their service more attractive to UK people wanting to travel to France.

Donkey Boiler


That's right, using fast ferries has an additional disadvantage in that they have no live aboard accommodation for the crew. This is why the Liberation starts its rotation in Poole each morning, as the crew is based in the UK. The ideal situation would be starting the rotation from Jersey each morning, but that would mean having a Jersey based crew or else providing accommodation ashore for the UK crew. A similar situation happens on the St.Malo route. So we will always have the topsy turvy schedule that is opposite to what we need.

Donkey Boiler

And as regards sailing times for UK passengers, they're just as inconvenient for them. It would be far better to have a rotation starting in the islands in the morning, and from the UK early afternoon. Whether you live in the UK or are visiting the UK, who wants to arrive late evening at Poole? And who wants to get up at the crack of dawn to get to Poole for a morning sailing to the islands (or else have the additional expense of another hotel)? Again, it is the same for UK residents visiting the islands, or for Islanders returning home.


I wanted to tell the survey that the timetables were just about as bad as they could possibly be for Channel Island passengers, French passengers and UK passengers but that question was not asked. The trick with obtaining a whitewash survey result is not to ask questions to which you do not wish to know the answer.


I've read a good chunk of the report, they have concluded that customer satisfaction is influenced by factors out of Condor's control. 6 months to get a refund following cancelled services is definitely not out of their control.

Customer satisfaction charts in the report look vastly different to independent survey figures. I think future reports need to be completely independent and audited. All this report has done is fuel the anger customers have towards Condor further.

I also struggle how replacing the Liberation was a decision with no evidence to consider further. The Liberation is unable to sail throughout most of the winter due to weather conditions, for starters.


What an absolute joke! Clearly, they have had someone sit down and go through the agreement and highlight the 'quick wins'.......

Is it a boat? Yes - tick

Does it float? Yes - tick

Does it sink? No - tick

Does it sail in bad weather? - come back to that one

Does the timetable encourage more tourists? - come back to that one too.

Back to...............Does it provide Costa Coffee? Yes -tick..........

Come election day........

When somebody convinces me that our car won't get a salt bath or suffer damage because vehicles are packed in like sardines, and that we won't suffer from sea sickness due to the uncomfortable ride, then in that unlikely event we will travel on the Liberation. Until that time we will avoid it like the plague!

In the meantime we will stick with Fly/Drive for our 2 or 3 short trips to the UK each year. For longer trips (usually just one a year) we'll use the Clipper despite it's basic accomodation and rubbish food.

I suspect hat we are not alone with this view.


You are definitely not alone. All your observations about the 'Constipation' are accurate. I am a poor sailor so the last thing I ever wanted was 12 hours on the slow boat. Nevertheless, I need to take a car to the UK so we will soon be putting up with it for the very first time. And damn expensive it is too, once we've forked out a fortune for a cabin we only had to have because of the absurd sailing time. Next time it will be the plane for us.


Not sure if it's my imagination but I'm sure the price difference between the Clipper and the Liberation are much closer than what they used to be.

Are Condor cashing in on the lack of consumer confidence in their flagship vessel?


Well, the Clipper costs more really. Lib is a few quid cheaper on the face of it but when you look at the dreadful Clipper sailing times and the fact you are on it all night, you need a cabin. And that cost us an extra £140! OK, that includes breakfast, but even so!



You mentioned the extra high cost of getting a cabin for the terrible night crossing on the Condom Flipper - I totally agree that the cost is very high indeed, but don't forget that Condor do their best to save you having to fork out for a cabin by insisting that they have none available! Happened to me on last two attempts to get to UK with a small camper. Decided not to travel, so their business lost out twice.

Suppose Jersey are given priority for cabins, including the tightly guarded "secret" internal cabins, because it's a more important island than Guernsey, not forgetting that Jersey also helped mix the large bucket of white-wash!

Sleeping on the seats which one is obliged to pay for is impossible, especially with two, surgically fused vertebra! Why should we be forced to pay for a crummy seat which we have no intention of using when we are forced to sleep on the floor Mr Luxton?

I don't think that deputies Ferbrache, Paint and others will allow this disastrous situation to continue in 2017. If there is no radical and rapid improvement in our passenger sea links with the UK and Europe, I predict that both Bailiwicks will see something new and quite exciting happening to our passenger sea routes. We could even see a deal whereby Condor holds on to the freight routes (and by arrangement also the Clipper) and a locally funded consortium/partnership established to provide efficient fast ferry service between the islands, the UK and France. Watch this space!

donkey doos

I have just been sent an e mail inviting me to book a day trip, what a joke, I can only find 2 days that would give you 4 hours tops and if your lucky it actually sails.


The date I tried, 17th December, arrives in Jersey at 1800 which gives you 20 minutes before you have to check in for the Clipper sailing back. All this for the bargain price of 15 of your hard-earned notes.

Here's a novel thought, why not set up the advertised Jersey markets on deck 5 of the clipper, at least customers can spend at least 2 hours browsing the stalls and maybe a glass or 2 of mulled wine on their journey between the islands!


After the long delay, at last, The Condor Services Report has arrived. Answer, 'in summary, just another nail in the Guernsey Economic Coffin.'


I organise short sporting breaks over here. I was filling about 200 bed nights per year and rising, this year it has been 8 bed nights. The reduction is purely because of the Liberation, some will not return because they found the crossing too unpleasant but the main reason is the unreliability.

Most of the visitors come for a long weekend and drive down from the Midlands or the North and are not willing to gamble the time and fuel costs on a boat that may not sail.

Next year I am not planning to even try to get any over here, as a waste of my time.


I just cannot see how the states members (or the reprobates in Condor) fail to see this very clear problem as evidenced in Esprit's post above.


Utterly ridiculous.

Travelled from St Malo to the UK with Brittany ferries in the awful weather at weekend.

Great service, easy boarding, great facilties, 10/10, cost £79 with car.

Condor is dated and the states have been sold a liability which will destroy the islands even more in the coming years.

Trouble is I looked at flights to Southampton for the next 5 weeks and it better beleif how much they increased the prices. Let's just rip of the locals.


Why doesn't the States of Guernsey just give up the pretence of giving a damn.

They're not fooling anyone ...


We are going to have an open and transparent conversation within the Assembly on the subject of Condor and our sea links. Enough is enough


Neil Inder

Master B

Mr Inder,

Yes enough is enough and something has to be done. What do you really think will be done about it?

I can say that nothing will be done at all about it. The States will debate it and status quo will remain. It is just a nightmare getting off this Island now. Not reliable, sea and air both extremely expensive. Not acceptable.

Condor Ferries is a disgrace.


You mean well Neil, but what will it achieve?

Condor is being run in such a way that maximum profit is achieved for the ultimate investors. There is zero obligation or appetite to do anything more than the minimum required on the passenger side as the loss making side of the business. That'll be the 'critical needs' bit. Bare minimum.

Don't get your name connected to this mess as it will likely end badly in 3/4 years come election time. Take note of her highness Mary L who stays away from anything remotely tricky and you'll be good for a 2-decade stint as a deputy.

While the Liberation remains in operation, I will never be travelling by sea to the UK mainland. I don't even want to risk booking a trip to Jersey on it.



This "report" is a perfect example of why the Brexit vote happened, why Trump won, why Marine Le Penn is doing so well and why the freedom Party of Austria, the AfD in Germany and right wing parties is Hungary and other Central European states are doing well.

It's full of grandiose half truths and "newspeak" (Orwell's 1984). Those who have produced and disseminated the report are well behind the curve on the population's gullibility and patience.

It's only a local ferry service but it's playing by the big boy's rules of contemptuous disdain for the "small" customers who pay their salaries.

What a disgrace!





Don't treat the paying public like idiots. This so called "report" is a disgrace to those who produced and endorsed its release. Are they really so blind to the reality of what's going on?

Are they really so blind to the intelligence and understanding of the customers - do they really think their drivel will be believed?

Do they think insulting the intelligence of their customers will make their business successful.

The route MUST now be made open to competition - Condor's abuse of its monopoly needs to end.


There's nothing wrong with the freight service as it has a vessel fit for the job, including it only diverts from the appalling passenger service.

A key point is the review also found that the company’s services are fully aligned with only four of the nine key needs. Which means it fails on five out of nine key needs, over half of its needs by its own admission.

As for the fig leaf of protection for the Liberation of “favourable independent reports from the Jersey

harbour master and safety consultants”. Firstly its Guernsey’s Harbour, not Jersey’s that it cannot be safely berthed in, in basically what is a strong breeze.

Secondly who are these safety consultants and in what circumstances, with what criteria did they use to asses this vessels suitability, for instance where they on the quay at St. Peter Port when it was trying to berth in a strong wind.

This report does nothing but strengthen peoples opinion that Condor will not change its incompetent ways with its contempt for the Islands, its passengers, viewing them as merely fodder to be serviced for profit.


The trouble is the Liability is hardly operating in the winter this year.

The service has been reduced to one sailing a day in 2016 & it was hardly ever full.

We could be stuck with this elephant for another 20 years.

Guernsey tourism RIP.

Master B

What a load of rubbish. Who are they kidding. My dislike for Condor is getting worse. I used to support them and can no longer. How can only 3 sailings in the month of November to St Malo be good for the Island when you can travel 4 times a week and sometimes twice a day in the same month from Jersey. That is not acceptable at all.

Sceptic Reader

Has anyone heard the latest wheeze? You text the passengers to turn up extra early - in the case of my son who lives in Poole 1 hour because of traffic problems in Poole er no! With a threat to close the gate 1 hour early. This was the first early sailing of the day “ Check in will close 1 hour early” so get there by 5.15 am! There were no reported traffic problems in Poole that day. In the end the Ferry left 15 minutes early according to original schedule so in fact it was 45 minutes late. But in the tweets and reliability figures it was 15 mins early – unbelievable!! Take note Politicians do not be hoodwinked!!! Blatant manipulation – it happened with my neighbour too - get there 2 hours early for St Malo as a foot passenger!!!

Have you noticed how on the Harbours Website Condor Departure and Arrival times are rapidly removed from site so no one can check up on them especially when late? Is someone actually sitting in that office just itching to remove them?

Am I the only one that never gets a reply to my emails to Condor? I am talking about things that are revenue generating not moans, like trying to get an answer to how to get a Frequent Traveller renewal or my trying to cancel a sailing because of a major operation they took so long to answer and then said I was too late – unbelievable - I lost £125. Cannot think of a company I hate more. Let alone what they are doing to our Island’s tourism and population. Takes me back to standing on Harbour Terminal and watching the Liberation hit the dock – moments later the Rapide came in straight back smooth as you like – the writing was on the wall for Liberation that day. Whitewash Report in bucket loads.


Rubbish - but if it were true then the agreement is useless - so how many States Reps and civil servants should be sacked - answer all of them - how many will be 0


Macquarie trading as Condor do not care about the travelling public, The Channel Islands or anything else other than their bottom line. Profits (or losses) made from running a business are nothing compared to the big money that is to be made from buying and selling companies and their assets. We all know this is how modern capitalism works and we all keep paying the price but the fight back might just be beginning as mentioned in an earlier post.

Now Macquarie have a ten year licence to operate, have offloaded their white elephant from another of the companies they own and have a whitewash positive government approved report into the operation I expect to see Condor sold within the next couple of years if not sooner. They won't be around when the Rapide is due to cease operation and certainly won't have to worry about the disposal of the Desperation-they have already disposed of it once from another of their companies. They have history and we should all learn from history. Companies like Macquarie simply do not care about their end users and we would be fools to think they do. Neither are they any good at actually running any company other than to dress it up and making it ready for sale hence we are in the mess we are in.

There is nothing we the travelling public or the elected politicians can do to these global capitalists other than to impose a complete boycott of their services-this would make it difficult for them to effect a sale but any actions they took to rectify the situation would be cynically aimed at a short term fix to enable them to achieve their long term goals.

Remember you heard it here first! In the meantime our tourism industry declines and our travel needs remain poorly served and ever more expensive.

I hope I am proved wrong but the cynic in me says I am right.

Election Issues


I agree that Macquarie won't be hanging around and that Condor Ferries will be up for sale sooner rather than later. The same situation arose with the Macquarie owned Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Whitelink.

Investment funds such as Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund ( MEIF ) have a lifespan.

The fact that Mr Luxon has said that the Liberation will not be replaced for 20 years and he also laughingly said that he wanted people to cherish the Liberation and that we should fall in love with her again ...just wanted me to retrain my stomach!

Imposing a complete boycott of the Liberation services might not be such a bad idea and not too difficult to carry out!


Yes laughed at that as well.

Problem is I never fell in love with it to begin with. My first was a day trip to Jersey soon after it arrived was flat calm and it had a strange motion then which made me think in rough seas it wouldn't be pleasant.

Then it was delayed hours on the way back finally getting in gone midnight!

My other Jersey trip in a little more swell wasn't nice.

So actually Mr Luxon I never liked your boat and won't be boarding it any time soon!


Will there ever be an investigation into how Condor appointed such a useless clown to be CEO with, as far as I can see, zero relevant experience? They might just as well have given me the job, surely I couldn't have made a bigger disaster of it than him? But I didn't even know they had been recruiting for a new CEO. I wasn't instrumental in giving Condor a completely one sided and highly lucrative service agreement committing Guernsey to them for 10 years either

Master B


Quite correct. He was the Manager at CIMandis in Pitronerie Road then moved to HSSD and we know what a mess he made there and now the CEO.... oh what a shocker. No experience in the shipping business at all. But he is just the puppet it's the share holders that don't give a rats ass for us here in Guernsey that pull the strings.


Why has not Scrutiny not looked into the 10 year one sided contract and the lead up to PL being recruited for CEO? Should have been one of the first things looked at, as this debacle has cost so much and will cost even more to everyone in the Islands.

Not to late to do the right thing Scrutiny.

I put my name froward for this committee but maybe with my 45+ years of self employed business experience in fishing, tourism, growing, exporting, building etc perhaps not good enough.


While we are all very disgruntled here in Guernsey, I guess we have to accept that it is not commercially viable to buy any more vessels or to provide any more sailings and that nothing is going to change on those scores - but perhaps Condor could at least strive to make what sailings we can have take place at more reasonable times than at present?


So because Condor blew their money on the wrong boat (or rather white elephant !) we have to put up with it ?

It is their fault so it should be their problem not ours - i.e. they should lose the licence including freight.

This report is irrelevant though, they can tell me over and over it is a good boat but I don't believe them and wont go on it.

Weymouth Boy

This is quite extraordinary !!

The Liberation seems to be very frequently late or not meeting its timetable but it is "approved" as safe by the Houlder report. Well that's alright then !! Did the people who provided this report take any account of the terrifying incidents that occurred last May? (See the internet). We were on that sailing, which apart from being over two hours late leaving Guernsey gave everyone on board a very frightening experience. We certainly won't ever travel to Guernsey on it again and I very much doubt that any other of the passengers will do so. Which is a great pity because we absolutely love Guernsey and feel very sorry indeed for the islanders who have to suffer this appalling company.

Where will it all end - well, I suggest it will start to end with the bankruptcy of most of Guernsey's tourist businesses.

Weymouth Boy

Sorry - should have said ... "that occurred in May LAST YEAR?"


Did anybody else just hear that smug so-and-so Luxon on the radio news just now? He was talking about Guernsey 'being only two years into a ten year agreement with Condor'. I don't suppose I was the only person shouting at the radio "Yes, the ten year agreement YOU made with Condor, just before being given the CEO job!" He is really taking the p*** and our pathetic States just suck it up.


I once met Paul Luxon at a charity event. He was very funny & extremely down to earth!

Island Wide Voting

Did it hurt much when you took the knife out of your back?

Trevor Hockey

Island Wide Voting

Oh dear, even I am not that wicked, but it made me laugh.! Reality is Mr. Luxon has stabbed us all in the back with his dismal reign at HSSD and now being the face of Condor.


PL was referring to an OA with Jersey - non such exists for Guernsey and we refused to sign an OA in March of this year an are continuing to resist.

The States aren't sucking it up (well not all of us anyway) I had to wait for the release of the CSR before triggering my Requete.


I thought the situation was that, even if Guernsey has not literally signed anything, we cannot back out of the 'understanding' without leaving Jersey holding the baby? And then possibly having to compensate Condor or jersey? Have I got that wrong?

Cher Eugene

Having now read the report I can understand why is is so late; They couldn't find a big enough bucket for the white-wash the subject required. By almost every criteria the Liberation is not fit now, nor ever has been, for the job it is expected to do.


Not acknowledging the catastrophic collapse in traveller numbers as an indication of failure is breathtaking.

Basically, to use the boat now you have to be desparate-no other way out. Hence the finances don't stack up as numbers are too low.

We need sensible costs, say under 500 pounds return for a family, sensible timings- not get out of your bed and no breakfast at 4 am or arriving somewhere at midnight, possibly the option to visit The other island for day trips. Seemed possible in the past. Incompetence is killing off this important lifeline little by little.


In 2011 we had 122k passengers. 2016 end of Q3 we are at 80k. At what point do our sea links become unviable? When do we act to save our sea links?

Island Wide Voting

If you reverse those numbers that post could sit quite comfortably into the Civil Service thread

Trevor Hockey

I say we should speak to Ferryspeed about getting two modern Clippers, preferably with a bit more speed, say 25 knots and let them run the freight and passenger services. I think they would treat us better than Condor do and I feel sorry for Condor staff who have to face all the complaints.

Election Issues

Meanwhile in Jersey.......the President of Jersey Hospitality Association has said that the Jersey States should consider extending Condor's operating agreement if the move would allow the company to improve the fleet.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham ruled out a subsidy but said that the report presented an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of the agreement Condor had with the States in a way which 'suits all parties better'

Now JHA President Ian Barnes has called on the government to make sure Jersey does not ' lose a vital service' and help Condor make improvements to its fleet.