Seaplane plans slowed down after problems buying plane – focus switches to Cessna Caravan
A SEAPLANE service between Guernsey and Jersey has been hit by a further delay after the operator’s plans to acquire an aircraft fell through.
However, Clear Harbour Airways now has a new plane in its sights and is looking to start services next Easter.
The company had hoped to start operating in summer last year, but problems obtaining the aircraft meant that it had to postpone that date, too.
‘I think realistically it would be wrong to try and rush a start in autumn this year,’ said company founder Benjamin Hill.
A Twin Otter had been its original choice, but Mr Hill said it was now looking at acquiring a Cessna Caravan instead.
These are slightly bigger than the Otter, he said, as well as being more powerful.
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.
He said that agreement has already been reached with the governments in Jersey and Guernsey following navigational risk assessments of the islands’ main harbours.
He has held meetings with commercial and leisure harbour users in both islands and has received a favourable response.
‘I feel now that we are closer than we’ve ever been,’ said Mr Hill.
Harbour Air Seaplanes’ head of flight operations and ground operations had now moved to the Channel Islands to help Mr Hill.
‘We’re now getting some traction across the board,’ he said.
‘Guernsey especially has been very accommodating, from the airport and harbours and the government too.
‘Finance is the crucial element now. We’re in discussions with a number of groups within the Channel Islands, which is important to me because I want this to be a CI-owned airline.’