Guernsey airline plans to buy fog-beating planes

image captionFog delays and cancellations are common at Guernsey Airport, especially in the spring

New fog-beating technology is set to be used for the first time on commercial ATR flights.

Guernsey airline Aurigny has outlined plans to buy three aircraft equipped with the technology.

The island carrier hopes the specially-designed planes will be operating by the end of 2019, subject to government approval.

Aurigny's chief executive said half of flights currently unable to land in fog would be able to land safely.

The Channel Island frequently suffers flight delays and cancellations and lacks the sophisticated technology that allows large airlines to land in zero-visibility.

The three 600-series ATR72 aircraft will cost £46m. The potential to reduce fog disruption will save the airline £1.1m over a decade, Aurigny said.

image copyrightATR
image captionA pilot using the technology in a trial earlier in 2018

"It won't be a perfect solution, it won't be every time it's foggy we can land, but based on last year's performance we think probably about 50% more flights would get in during fog," chief executive Mark Darby said.

"So, it would make a difference, and if you're on one of those 50% of flights it's a big difference.

"We believe it will be a real game changer for Guernsey."

Under it, pilots are able to use an enhanced vision system which provides them with a view from a camera installed on the aircraft's nose.

The ATR aircraft equipped with the fog-beating technology will predominantly be used on flights between Guernsey and UK airports, including Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester.

image copyrightATR
image captionTrials of the technology have already been conducted in Guernsey

Plans to purchase the aircraft will go before Guernsey's parliament in December 2018.

Island politicians have previously raised concerns about the government-owned airline's debt, forecast to rise to £12.3m by the end of 2018.

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