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Easter take-off for seaplane service now aircraft sourced

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A SEAPLANE service between Guernsey and Jersey is due to launch at Easter next year, after delays to the acquisition of the aircraft meant that it could not be started in time for this summer.

A De Havilland Single Otter aircraft operating a service for Harbour Air Seaplanes in Vancouver. It can carry up to 14 passengers at a top speed of 130 mph and at a maximum height of 3,000ft. (22417796)

Clear Harbour Airways will operate the service between St Helier and St Peter Port harbours.

Company founder Benjamin Hill said he has already held meetings with commercial and leisure harbour users in both islands and has received a favourable response.

He said the plane is being delivered with a 12-month certificate of commercial air worthiness.

‘Clear Harbour Airways was happy to work with the seller and delay delivery until all aspects of the purchase agreement had been satisfied.’

Mr Hill came up with the idea of a seaplane service after spending time in Canada, where he came into contact with a company called Harbour Air Seaplanes and gained a background understanding of the sector.

The seaplane operation will be backed up by a traditional aircraft which will be used on occasions when the main aircraft cannot operate.

A navigational risk assessment of St Helier Harbour has been carried out by Marico Marine at the request of Ports of Jersey, which operates vessel traffic services there.

A similar assessment has been carried out in Guernsey by Guernsey Harbours. The local seaplane company and representatives of Harbour Air made a presentation to representatives of interested and affected parties at the Guernsey Yacht Club earlier this year.

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Mr Hill said he has been granted an air operator’s certificate and has been given a licence to employ five pilots in Jersey, plus other personnel.

And with the recent move to a quasi open skies policy in Guernsey, Mr Hill believes he will be free to operate without needing a local licence.

‘A berth has been allocated [in Guernsey and Jersey] and things are moving forward,’ he said.

‘We are confident of being able to service the Channel Islands well, with a fast and reliable service.

‘Completion of the acquisition of the plane is due by the end of October and we hope to have it in the Channel Islands by the end of the year, or very early next year, ready to carry out checks before commencing our service.’

The intention is to start operating in time for the start of the tourist season next Easter.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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