Guernsey States' ownership of Aurigny 'essential'

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States-ownership of the loss-making Aurigny group is essential to Guernsey's transport security, the treasury minister has said.

The group, which consists of the airline Aurigny and maintenance division Anglo Normandy, is expected to make a loss of £1.36m in 2012.

The company said it would not comment on its finances until the new year.

Deputy Gavin St Pier said: "Aurigny is essential to the island's future and retaining the links with Gatwick."

He said ensuring the island had direct links to London was "absolutely critical".

Deputy St Pier said: "There's no doubt that the only way we can do that is by retaining the airline to provide that security."

He said the loss, which compares to a loss of £725,000 in 2011, was due to the cost of "significant restructuring" at Anglo Normandy following the loss of 16 jobs as it down sized earlier this year.

The States bought the group for about £5m in 2003.

In 2010, the airline was put up for sale and then later withdrawn over concerns the future of the airline's slots at London Gatwick Airport could not be guaranteed.

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