Talks held to allay Alderney fears over UK air links

image captionMr Coates said he saw no need for job losses if the deal went through

Hundreds of people turned out in Alderney on Monday to hear from the chairman of airline Blue Islands.

Derek Coates' company is currently in discussion with Guernsey States about a possible takeover of States-owned Aurigny.

Concerns have been raised about the loss of the island's lifeline link to the UK if the deal goes through.

Mr Coates allayed the fears of some islanders by pledging to maintain the direct link to Southampton.

It was not just standing room only at Alderney's Island Hall as people gathered outside the building's windows to hear what Mr Coates had to say.

Mr Coates stressed his love of the island which he has known since childhood, said he was not "in it for the money" and promised his company would do more to promote Alderney than had been done by Aurigny.

He praised the staff from the rival airline and said he could see no reason why there should be any job losses if the deal went ahead.

Moira Sleeman, BBC Alderney reporter, said: "The takeover of what many in Alderney see as 'their' airline has aroused strong feelings.

"After the meeting it was clear many people have faith in his ability but not everyone was convinced and many remain nervous over the future."

Aurigny is the Norman name for Alderney, where Aurigny Air Services was launched in 1968.

The decision on whether the sale goes ahead is due to go before the States in October.

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