Tighter rules for Guernsey-Gatwick route licences

Mock-up of an Aurigny Embraer jet Aurigny has ordered a larger plane so it can make more seats available on the Gatwick route

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The impact on States-owned airline Aurigny of a new operator on the Guernsey-Gatwick route will be considered in licence applications.

The increased restrictions were agreed by the States after the Treasury and Resources Department called for greater protection of the route.

Flybe will stop flying the route in March, following the sale of its Gatwick slots.

Easyjet withdrew its application after the protection plans were proposed.

The airline cited "continued uncertainty surrounding the States' sole operator policy" as part of its decision not to pursue the licence further.

Maximise profits

Treasury Minister Gavin St Pier said the restrictions were not about protecting Aurigny, but would provide "greater security and certainty" on the "key route".

"It's not as if competition would completely disappear, rival operators would still fly to other London airports and to Southampton," he said.

"Also because it is owned by the people, Aurigny has no imperative to maximise profits. If the States set it a strategic aim to break even we could have reasonable but not unrealistic fares."

The airline has ordered a 122-seat Embraer 195 jet, due to arrive in June 2014, to increase the number of seats it can offer on the route without increasing the number of flights it offers.

Mark Darby, chief executive officer, said: "Obviously we're pleased, we think it's the right decision, we haven't been guaranteed a monopoly."

He said there was "plenty of choice" in getting to the UK form the island including Southampton and Stansted and a current application from Flybe to fly to Luton.

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