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Heathrow link will end in March

News | Published:

FLYBE'S Heathrow service is ending in March.

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But it could restart next winter.

Flybe will also be taking over the Southend service from May, which Blue Islands is set to end next week.

Confirmation of the decision came yesterday, after Economic Development President Charles Parkinson met with Mark Anderson, CEO for Connect Airways.

'Our discussions with Mark and members of his senior management team were positive and productive, during which Mark reiterated Flybe’s commitment to Guernsey and to the continuation of their Birmingham and Exeter triangular services for the future,' Deputy Parkinson said.

The rest of the services from Guernsey Airport are either operated by Aurigny or Flybe's franchise partner Blue Islands, which uses planes painted in Flybe colours.

During the call with Deputy Parkinson, Mr Anderson confirmed that the current Heathrow slots used for the Guernsey service were to be returned to the slot owner and that no other slots were available to continue the service into the Summer 2020 season. However Flybe is still working with Economic Development to seek and secure possible slots for the winter 2020/2021 season.

'While it is very disappointing that we will not be able to continue the Heathrow service into the summer season, we're very pleased that Flybe did confirm during our discussions that, from the beginning of May, they will fill the gap and operate the London Southend route following the announcement by Blue Islands that they will be suspending the service from 27 January,' Deputy Parkinson said.

'Seats will go on sale shortly. We will of course continue our dialogue and work on other potential new route opportunities with Mark and his team.'

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The Heathrow service was launched last March, with a £825,000 subsidy from the States for the first seven months. A subsidy payment continued to keep the link, but its cost has not yet been confirmed.

There have been more than 27,000 passenger movements on the daily service since it begun. But there had been criticism of the way the States had stepped in, especially after Aurigny's Gatwick passenger numbers dropped.

Blue Islands Southend service was launched last May and has welcomed more than 14,000 passenger movements since then. But last week Blue Islands said it was ending the service as it was unsustainable.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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