Aurigny and Blue Islands have agreed to share some routes between the Channel Islands and the UK as a way of restoring connectivity following the pandemic.
The companies say they plan to 'harmonise' their schedules between Guernsey, Jersey, Exeter and Birmingham and offer same-day return services on certain days of the week. The agreement will be implemented in a phased approach following the easing of travel restrictions in July.
The carriers say there will be a 'collective effort' to restore regular flights between Guernsey and Southampton, an important lifeline route to the mainland. They also say measures are being put in place to provide flight options to those in Alderney, connecting in Guernsey through to Jersey.
We are delighted to announce a co-operation agreement. Our aim is to sustainably rebuild, preserving consumer choice and ensuring critical air connectivity as we come out of the pandemic. We firmly believe this agreement will help to bring stability for both passengers and our employees. Whilst we remain competitors, we 2 | Page will continue to seek out areas where efficiencies may be gained from collaboration – ensuring the viability and sustainability of this essential part of island infrastructure.
The agreement is still subject to a consultation between the relevant authorities but both companies say they will remain independent, with pricing, promotion and customer care being managed by each airline independently.
The State's Trading Supervisory Board has welcomed the link.
In a post-Covid environment, the agreement should enable Aurigny and Blue Islands to extend the range of services they offer, in a sustainable manner. Passengers are at the heart of the agreement, which will ensure schedules and connections are convenient and flexible. It'll open up new opportunities, including connections between Alderney and Jersey. However there will still be healthy competition between the two airlines, including on price.
Its President, Deputy Peter Roffey says "given the substantial overheads involved with operating air services, it makes good commercial sense for the airlines to work together".