Guernsey

Flybe partner cancels two 'unsustainable' Guernsey-UK routes

Aeroplane Image copyright Blue Islands
Image caption The Flybe franchise partner had been operating the routes since May 2019

A franchise partner of Flybe has cancelled its routes from Guernsey to London Southend and Liverpool for not being "financially sustainable".

Channel Islands-based airline Blue Islands began the daily Southend and twice-weekly Liverpool services in May.

The move comes amid the recent uncertainty over Flybe, which operates other routes from Guernsey.

Blue Islands apologised to customers and said any affected customers would be offered refunds or new flights.

In an email to customers Flybe said it was offering to cover the cost of transportation between Southampton airport and Southend.

Customers were told to book their own transport and send Flybe their receipts for a refund.

However, the email did not say they would be offering compensation for other losses, including any money lost on hotels.

'Financially sustainable'

Blue Islands CEO Rob Veron blamed the "destabilising impact" of the island's "open skies" policy which began in September 2018.

The deregulation of Guernsey's airspace means airlines do not need an air transport licence to fly to and from the island.

Mr Veron said the airline was "committed to serving the communities of Guernsey and Jersey", but suspending the routes was "vital for the health of the wider business".

"While we continually strive to develop incremental network growth from the islands, some new route start-ups do not prove to be financially sustainable," he added.

Guernsey's Committee for Economic Development expressed its disappointment at the decision, but acknowledged it was a "commercial decision" by the airline.

A committee spokesman said the open skies policy helped to increase passenger movement through Guernsey by 6% in 2019, following "decades of declining numbers".

"The new routes have also provided better access for tourists, and more choice and more competitive fares for locals," he added.

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