Guernsey treasury board to discuss Aurigny name change

Aurigny plane taking off from Guernsey Airport
Image caption Aurigny was bought by Guernsey's government in 2003 to protect the island's access to Gatwick

The name of Guernsey's publicly-owned airline, Aurigny, could be changed.

Deputy Darren Duquemin suggested rebranding as "Guernsey Air" would be more effective in promoting the island.

Deputy Treasury Minister Jan Kuttelwascher said it would be discussed by the Treasury Department, the company's shareholder, on Tuesday.

Mark Darby, the airline's chief executive officer, said changing the airline's 45-year-old name was not currently among their priorities.

This week the States accounts revealed the airline's debts had grown to £12m by the end of 2012.

They also showed the States was guaranteeing a loan of £14.9m for the purchase of two aircraft and a separate £7.8m loan for the Aurigny Group, which is the airline and an aero engineering company.

'Benefit the Bailiwick'

Deputy Kuttelwascher, a former airline pilot, said the idea was discussed during the last term of government but did not receive much support.

"I'm neutral on the issue," he said. "It's primarily an operational issue for [Aurigny] to decide.

"In the current climate and Aurigny's financial situation, to try to put forward a business case which is acceptable for an expenditure which may or may not result in a benefit would not be an easy thing to do."

Deputy Duquemin said changing stationery and livery would not cost much and the change would ultimately benefit the Bailiwick.

He said: "If we can put 'Guernsey' in big letters on the side of a big, shiny new jet at Gatwick airport... people are going to be impressed that Guernsey has its own airline."

"At the moment, it's almost the island's best kept secret," he said.

Large investment

Image caption Deputy Darren Duquemin said having Guernsey written on planes could increase the island's profile

He said the rebrand could happen with routine maintenance over a number of years, rather than happening "in one go".

Mark Darby, the airline's chief executive officer, said: "A name change would involve a large investment to rebrand all our aircraft, signage, websites, uniforms, stationery and marketing and there would be re-launch costs too."

He said the idea would "require careful thought by our board and consultation with our shareholder".

Aurigny was purchased by the States in 2003, in order to secure slots at Gatwick and secure the future of flights to and from Guernsey.

It currently competes on the route with Flybe but the Exeter-based airline has announced it will sell its slots to Easyjet and discontinue its services on the route from March.

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