Guernsey Press

Aurigny praised as delayed Alderney passengers get away

FLIGHTS to Alderney resumed yesterday lunchtime, after more than a day of cancellations.

Alderney-born Sarah Edmunds was a little late getting there with her husband Dan and children Annie, 6, Millie, 9, and Tommy, 3, but the family had nothing planned other than a visit to her 97-year-old grandmother. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31415572)

Subsidence in Alderney’s runway, discovered on Wednesday morning, had grounded all flights.

A temporary fix allowed services to restart yesterday, but more work will be needed.

The first flight to Alderney left Guernsey just after 12.30pm.

Passengers were pleased to be on their way, but credited Aurigny for its handling of the situation.

Donald Vidal, a kitchen assistant at Mignot Memorial Hospital, had been in Guernsey visiting a friend since Saturday and was booked onto one of the Wednesday flights, which was cancelled.

‘I was able to stay with my friend for another night, but otherwise I would have contacted Aurigny to put me in a hotel,’ he said.

‘I do have concerns about the Alderney runway, it is in such a bad shape and is only getting worse, so I wasn’t shocked by the cancellation.’

Mr Vidal missed a day of work yesterday, but was pleased to have spent extra time in Guernsey with his friend.

The Edmunds family missed the first day of their holiday in Alderney due to the cancellations, but parents Dan and Sarah were accompanied by three very excited children, Millie, 9, Annie, 6, and Tommy, 3, who were ready to finally be setting off.

‘We were meant to be on the 8.55am flight, which was cancelled, but I received a text from Aurigny at about 2pm saying that they were putting us on the flight today,’ said Mr Edmunds.

‘It was completely out of Aurigny’s hands to make the cancellation but the customer service through Facebook was great and really quick.’

Mrs Edmunds was born in Alderney, and her 97-year-old grandmother still lives there, so the family visit at least once a year.

‘With half-term we thought we’d go for a long weekend, go to the beach, and do some walking and exploring, but we hadn’t booked or planned anything that we would have missed,’ she said.

There was a decision to be made by Alderney’s June Banister, who was in transit to Alderney from Gatwick after visiting family.

‘I didn’t know about it until I boarded in Gatwick and I had to choose quickly between staying in the UK or being stranded in Guernsey, but Guernsey was more preferable,’ she said.

‘The way Aurigny handled it was brilliant. As soon as I got off the plane in Guernsey they had a hotel booked and new flight for me and provided taxis there and back.

‘I think I was lucky because I was in transit, so I didn’t have to look for hotels and transport myself.’

There are no fixed dates as to when remedial works will be carried out on Alderney’s runway, but it is planned to be as soon as possible.

The approach is expected to be similar to previous repairs where the majority of work has been carried out at night.

The problems arose as a policy letter is set to be considered by the Guernsey States about £24m.-worth of improvements to Alderney airport and runway.