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Return to Heathrow could attract subsidy

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT is ‘particularly keen’ to see the Guernsey to Heathrow route re-started and would be open to providing start-up financial support.

Economic Development has said it is ‘particularly keen’ that the island should have flights to Heathrow again. (Picture by Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

The committee has unveiled plans to expand the island’s route network through moving to a ‘quasi open skies’ policy.

One of the routes it would most like to add is Heathrow, and the committee believes the timing could be just right.

‘In 2016, the UK Government approved a third runway at Heathrow Airport, with an emphasis on more direct flights to UK destinations,’ the committee said.

‘In its Bringing Britain Closer document, published in September 2017, Heathrow Airport expressed its commitment to supporting UK domestic connectivity, and identified Guernsey as one of a number of potential new destinations on its indicative route development map.

‘Heathrow would provide a valuable additional London link and would complement the Gatwick route by offering significant additional choice for onward long haul connectivity – over 90 new cities and over 30 new countries – which would benefit, among others, Guernsey’s financial services sector.’

The committee has a policy in place to support route growth in cases where it is required and where a sound business case is put forward.

‘The committee is of the view that funding should be considered in certain cases to support routes which otherwise would not be started and/or sustained.

‘Such funding will be in addition to any discounts provided by STSB [States’ Trading Supervisory Board] on airport fees and charges for new routes,’ it said.

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‘Lifeline routes requiring a PSO may receive an annual level of grant funding, subject to the terms of the contract agreed with the chosen operator, which would normally cover a period of up to five years.

‘As for all other routes requiring start-up funding support, the committee will consider providing this via the Future Guernsey Economic Fund, subject to a positive economic cost-benefit analysis, and in accordance with the terms of the committee’s policy statement on such funding.

‘Nine routes which have the potential to significantly contribute to the island’s economy and connectivity will be prioritised.’

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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