Guernsey Press

Dublin flights may have to go to Belfast

PASSENGERS booked on Aurigny’s new Dublin service might find themselves being flown to Belfast instead, with a three-hour coach journey to follow, after the airline became tangled in a post-Brexit air services licensing issue.

Aurigny used its Embraer to fly the first direct service to Dublin, but a licensing row is causing problems both for it and Blue Islands' service from Jersey. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30664238)

The airline direct service was launched on 16 March, with flights scheduled three times a week.

It has been operating under a temporary permit while the States, and Irish and British authorities work on a long-term solution. That is due to expire on Sunday 10 April, meaning direct services to the Republic of Ireland will not be allowed to operate until a long-term option is in place.

‘In the event of the long-term permit not being issued by 12 April, services from that date will be operated via Belfast with coach transfer to and from Dublin,’ an airline spokeswoman said.

‘Aurigny hopes that a solution to the problem will be found before operating services via Belfast becomes necessary, but as a precaution it is now advising customers with bookings to travel between 12 and 30 of April that services will be operated via Belfast. This will enable customers to adjust their arrangements for the longer journey times. Aurigny have informed customers who might be affected by email and they will be notified of any changes.This situation is highly unusual and totally unexpected.

‘Aurigny has applied for and received permits and subsequently operated several flights to and from Ireland since Brexit and believed the permit for these new services to be a formality. An application was made to start this same service in the summer of 2021 and it was approved, so we had no reason to expect it would be any different in 2022.’

A States spokesman said it was alerted to the problem in early March and had immediately contacted the UK’s Department for Transport to seek its assistance in engaging with their counterparts in Ireland to find a solution.

‘With the help of the law officers, we are continuing to assist all parties in working through the matter.’

If the Belfast back-up plan is required, the Tuesday and Thursday flights will depart Guernsey 1.45pm, arriving at Belfast at 3.35pm. There would then be a coach to Dublin Airport, arriving at about 6.15pm.

The return journey would see the coach departing Dublin at 3.50pm and passengers arriving back in to Guernsey 8.20pm.

The direct flights would take about 90 minutes.

A similar arrangement is in place for the Saturday services.

Aurigny is not the only airline to have been hit by problems. Blue Islands had to use the alternative route via Belfast on Sunday and Monday.