Jersey Airport staff prepare for biggest period of change in decades

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey Airport is entering the biggest period of change in decades.

With travel restrictions easing from Monday 26 April, staff at the airport are preparing for the return of passengers in significant numbers.

The business was badly hit during 2020 and a number of positions were lost across the Ports of Jersey.

These jobs are unlikely to return and the airport has been forced to look at the way all of its operations work. It needs to ensure it can function with a reduced number of staff.

As a result, Jersey Airport has introduced a form of multi-skilling, called Integrated Operations.

This means that every employee will be able to take on additional roles during busy or challenging times.

This could mean Air Traffic Controllers, Passenger Service Agents or Firemen could man security areas as well as performing their normal duties.

Back office staff and managers will also take on frontline duties around the terminal as required.

The system will allow the sharing of airport and port staff to man the ferry terminal. They will work around the arrivals and departures of ships, rather than staffing the Elizabeth Terminal full time.

It is believed Jersey Airport is the first of its size to move away from the traditional separate ways of working, to a more joined up approach.

The Ports of Jersey say it is a model they expect other airports to follow.

Meanwhile, the quiet period has also allowed the airport to bring forward redecoration and deep cleaning of the terminals. This would otherwise have been "impossible" due to passenger numbers.

It has also been preparing for the arrival of a larger aircraft which will be used by the airline Jet 2 when it commences a number of new routes this summer.

In the run up to restrictions being eased, it has seen passenger numbers start to increase.

Currently, the busiest day of the week has been a Friday with Easyjet, British Airways and Blue Islands departures.

But these three flights represent only a tenth of the number which would normally be expected on a pre-pandemic Friday.

Going forward, there will be new boarding processes introduced. Flights will be called just ahead of departure and there will be less waiting at the gate. This is to reduce the number of people confined in a small space.

Arrivals will still need to complete pre-registration paper work, 48 hours before they land, to avoid lengthy delays entering the island.

In 2019, Jersey Airport had its highest number of passengers in two and a half decades.

But it could be years before similar figures are seen again.

The Airport says it is "hopeful" that it will be a good summer for travel.