Guernsey Press

Aurigny promises changes – but disruption may last until August

Aurigny has pledged to sort out the flight chaos hitting islanders’ travel plans – but possibly not until August.

Aurigny says it intends to have five ATRs in service by August. (33227634)

The airline intends to have five ATRs in service by August, but has admitted struggling to provide enough aircraft in the meantime.

Passengers experienced more disruption over the weekend as a result of aircraft shortages.

Flights to Exeter and Southampton were cancelled, and flights to and from Bristol were rerouted to East Midlands, 120 miles away. A further 12 flights were delayed by two hours or more.

Aurigny said it could not rule out further disruption this week.

Sudeep Ghai, chief commercial officer, yesterday apologised to passengers caught up in recent disruption, and set out plans to improve services.

‘We expect to have five ATRs in service during August, which will provide us with one aircraft spare for a normal operation based on four aircraft flying a full daily schedule of up to eight sectors each,’ said Mr Ghai.

He said the airline had planned to have three ATRs available across the summer period, supplemented with wet-leased capacity, but there had been problems finding reliable wet-lease providers.

‘This becomes more difficult as we approach the peak summer season and was further complicated by one of our ATR aircraft spending a protracted period in maintenance waiting for a replacement landing gear which are in short supply worldwide.

‘We are working to stabilise the flying programme and evaluating our options.’

The airline has suffered numerous problems maintaining its schedule this year.

In March, it said it endured a ‘black swan’ event as two ATRs were hit with technical issues while another was having routine maintenance.

Late in April, an ATR on hire to help address issues overshot the runway at Guernsey airport, putting it out of action while an investigation was held.

Mr Ghai said that when flying capacity was constrained the airline had to make trade-offs which balanced causing as little inconvenience as possible for passengers with the availability of slots at airports and aircraft.

‘Unfortunately, this means we have disappointed our customers with the recent disruption, and we are trying hard to ensure that everyone arrives at their chosen destination.

‘We do hope the option to get to the UK or back to Guernsey is better than having no option at all, but appreciate the difficulty and inconvenience that has been caused to passengers who did not arrive at their chosen destination.’

He also apologised for not providing or arranging connecting transport when customers were flown to destinations they did not book.

‘For Guernsey-originating flights, we endeavour to arrange onward transportation. However, due to the late notice of such changes, we advise customers that they may need to make their own onward travel to their final destination.

‘We will reimburse reasonable costs for their onward journey if they make a claim through our claims process.’

As Guernsey is a non-EU, non-UK jurisdiction, EU Regulation 261, which requires airlines to compensate passengers for delays of more than three hours, does not apply to Aurigny flights departing Guernsey.

However, Mr Ghai said the airline could provide compensation on a goodwill basis and through its own claims policy.