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States backing for Heathrow hits Aurigny revenue

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AURIGNY has lost around £80,000 in revenue in May due to the States-subsidised Flybe Heathrow service, the local airline has said.

(Picture by Tony Rive)

The Heathrow service, which launched at the end of March, has built a strong following, with 6,055 using the service during the last two months.

With one return flight a day, that works out at an average of about 50 passengers on each flight, meaning each Dash 8 aircraft is about 60% full.

In the Guernsey Airport figures for the first five months of this year, there were 126,339 passenger movements on the Aurigny Gatwick service – just 57 fewer than the same period last year.

Aurigny’s other London service, Stansted, saw a drop of nearly 5% to 8,563 over the same period.

An Aurigny spokeswoman said it had lost thousands of pounds due to the new London Heathrow route.

‘While it is difficult to be precise as this is a constantly changing market, we had seen growth in passenger numbers early in 2019, prior to the Heathrow launch,’ she said.

‘In May we carried around 2,000 fewer passengers than expected in our forecast based on last year’s Gatwick and Stansted route numbers.

‘If you take into account that the States of Guernsey have subsidised the Heathrow route around £120,000 per month, then the Heathrow route could have potentially cost the States £200,000 in May alone,’ the spokeswoman said.

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‘Therefore, we have lost approximately £80,000 in revenue on these routes.’

The States is subsidising the Heathrow service for seven months at a cost of £825,000.

‘Discussions around the continuation of the Flybe Heathrow/Guernsey service are currently taking place, but at this stage we are not yet able to confirm any arrangement beyond October,’ said an Economic Development spokesman.

‘However, we do hope to be able to confirm the future arrangements soon, as we know islanders and visitors will now be looking at their travel plans for later on in the year.’

A Flybe spokesman would also not be drawn on when a decision would be made on the future of the route.

‘Flybe has been pleased with the level of customer support this new service has received since it started operating and confirms it is reviewing the possibility of an extension of the route into the winter season,’ he said.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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