Aurigny ticket prices could be set to rise

AURIGNY ticket prices could be set to rise, as inflation and oil prices catch up with the airline.

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Since the bounce back from Covid, average ticket prices have only risen by 6% on 2019 fares.

But that could soon change.

‘Everything is getting more expensive and we are all feeling that, day in, day out,’ Aurigny CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said.

‘It is possible there will be increases in ticket prices.’

He asked islanders to note that they had not suffered the same rises as elsewhere, with the Isle of Man seeing ticket prices rise 5% per year, against Guernsey’s 3% per year.

Oil prices are at record levels after the invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Bezuidenhout said oil prices were 44% above what the airline had budgeted for. But so far Aurigny had been fairly well protected from the rise.

‘We hedge 50% of our oil 12 months out, so that has helped mitigate it, but eventually we will catch out own tail, as we are now hedging 12 months out at these high prices.

‘We are doing all we can to develop the market and there is high demand, so we might not need to increase ticket prices,’ he said.

‘But it is not easy to do that, as people are paying more for everything.’

The airline has been successful in widening its offering, with seasonal flights to UK and European destinations.

Mr Bezuidenhout said that UK and EU routes were performing well, with some seasonal flights like Copenhagen selling out quickly.

He said that such extra services had been priced break even to thank passengers for their support.

‘We are serving 60% more destinations than in 2019,’ he said.

‘We will have a look at some new options.’

The airline faced some post-Brexit red tape problems with its flights to Dublin, with passengers diverted to Belfast for several weeks.

Mr Bezuidenhout said bookings for the service did not actually slow and feedback showed that there was a bigger demand for a direct Belfast service than expected.

He said Aurigny might look at a direct seasonal service in future.

This would not come at the expense of Dublin, though.

Mr Bezuidenhout said the company was keen to have a Dublin route, so travellers might be able to pre-clear US customs if going on trans-Atlantic flights.

Aurigny has been looking at connecting with more airlines.

The airline already has an agreement with Easyjet since 2018 and a new agreement with low-cost Spanish airline Vueling was recently reached.

Mr Bezuidenhout said he was keen to see more interlining agreements, with two options well-progressed with major airlines.

‘It’s all about giving people more options and getting Guernsey on more drop-down lists of destinations,’ he said.

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