French air links – Economic Development ‘looking into it’
IF A WAY can be found to provide air links to French airports it will be done, Economic Development president Charles Parkinson has said.
He confirmed that the committee was already in talks with airport authorities at Bordeaux and Rennes to provide a link to Guernsey.
‘We are looking into it.
‘We’re talking to a couple of different operators and if we can find a way of doing it we will,’ he said.
‘Both the airports there and in Guernsey are keen, we just need an operator.’
Deputy Parkinson said it was important for the island to have links to France.
‘It’s a very large potential market for us and we’d like to do something with it.’
During States debate yesterday, Deputy Parkinson said any link to France would need a subsidy.
A spokesman for Economic Development also confirmed that the committee and Marketing and Tourism were actively discussing a number of options for establishing stronger air links and new routes, both with existing and new carriers.
‘Part of this work includes consideration of potential new routes to French airports. Already, in the last year, seven new routes have been established to destinations in the UK and mainland Europe, and the committee is confident there is real scope to further expand this network.’
Newly established routes are Heathrow, Southend, Liverpool, Newquay, Edinburgh, Bournemouth and Groningen in the Netherlands.
He said during the first few months of operation in 2019, overall airport traffic had seen a number of record months, with total passenger movements up by more than 29,750 passengers by 31 August – an increase of 5.5% for the year to date after many years of decline.
He said the Heathrow service had already seen nearly 13,000 passengers fly the route to the end of July and the committee had recently agreed to extend the Heathrow service into the winter season.
Guernsey Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Directors both said they welcomed the extension to March 2020.
‘The service has materially improved the connectivity and choice for islanders, visitors and business travellers alike. The success of the service is demonstrated by the growth in air traffic, demonstrating that the service is supporting additional travel, and economic activity, in the island,’ a spokesman said.