First Christmas student flight touches down

GUERNSEY’S first Christmas student flight touched down yesterday, with young people being greeted by family from a safe distance.

Aurigny is operating a series of special flights from Manchester, Gatwick, Southampton, Exeter, East Midlands and Bristol over the next few days to help university students get home to self-isolate before Christmas.

It also helps reduce the distance they need to travel across the UK during the pandemic, as Aurigny is only operating regular flights to Southampton and Alderney.

There were 15 people on the first flight yesterday, which came in from Manchester.

Among the students was 20-year-old Kit Inderwick, who is studying at the University of Liverpool.

His mother, Annie Inderwick, was giving him a lift home, while following Public Health guidelines.

‘It is a real relief [there is a flight],’ she said.

‘Before he had to go down to Southampton by coach.’

The family is lucky to have quite a big house, so her son will be isolating in a separate part of the house, with a fridge and toaster, and his family will be bringing him meals.

Unfortunately for Mrs Inderwick her other son was not able to come back for Christmas, as he could not get the time off work in Wales to be able to self-isolate in Guernsey. But she said they would be keeping in touch with Zoom calls over the festive period.

Katie Halliday, 20, is also studying at the University of Liverpool. Her father John brought his daughter’s car up to the airport, so she was going to be able to drive herself to self-isolation.

Fortunately, they were able to book a self-catering unit at Rocquaine, so Katie will be able to quarantine for 14 days away from her family.

‘I’m relieved there is a student flight, as it gave us certainty,’ he said.

The flight was also open to members of the public.

Rickey Long works in Liverpool and was met at the airport by his mother Alison. He will be staying at a family friend’s house, which has been vacated so he can self-isolate.

‘It is a great relief to have him home for Christmas and know that he is safe,’ she said.

People travelling to self-isolation either need to drive their own vehicle or be picked up by a person, such a taxi driver or relative. There are special rules for those travelling in a vehicle to self-isolation, to lower the risk of Covid-19 being passed to anyone else in the car.

Travellers are not allowed to take the bus. But the States decided not to take any chances yesterday and announced that the airport bus stop would be suspended until next week, after the student flights had finished.

Annie Inderwick. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28971165)

‘The decision has been taken to suspend the bus stop for the period when there are expected to be a high number of flight arrivals,’ a spokesperson said.

‘This decision will discourage anyone from being tempted to use public buses.’

The 71, 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 services will not serve the airport until next Monday. However, school buses will still serve the airport bus stop as normal.

The first flight back from Manchester for students arrives in Guernsey. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28971161)

Head of passenger operations and aviation security – ports, Steve Langlois, said there had been a lot of preparation to ensure this busy period of travel went smoothly.

‘However, due to the latest, predicted passenger numbers, processing times may be slightly longer, and we would ask arriving passengers at the ports for their patience and understanding at this time,’ he said.

Anyone due to travel to the Bailiwick by air or sea should register their journey in advance by using the States’ Travel Tracker service prior to travelling to the Bailiwick, wherever possible.

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