Aurigny apologies as more Alderney flights are cancelled

Aurigny has been forced to cancel flights to Alderney. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Aurigny has issued a lengthy apology to customers after cancelling its Alderney flights for a fifth day running.

The airline's two Dornier planes are out of action - one is undergoing routine maintenance checks and the second is experiencing "technical issues".

The company took to social media to apologise to passengers whose Easter getaway plans have been ruined.

They said in a statement: "We would like to apologise to customers and all others who have been inconvenienced by the cancellation of Alderney flights over the past few days.

"Aurigny has two Dornier aircraft dedicated to providing services to and from Alderney and over the past four days neither of them has been continuously available for service due to technical problems.

The airlines two Alderney planes are out of action. Credit: ITV Channel TV

"This is highly unusual and has come about for the following reasons: One of our two Dornier aircraft has been undergoing its mandatory annual maintenance for several weeks and it should have returned to regular service two weeks ago.

"However a small number of components needed to be replaced and unfortunately the manufacturer of the aircraft, General Atomics, did not have any of the required parts in stock and had to manufacture them.

Flights to Alderney have been cancelled for a fifth day running. Credit: ITV Channel TV

"After waiting for the manufacturing, the parts were delivered to us at which point we realised that General Atomics had manufactured the wrong parts. We are now waiting for the correct parts to be manufactured and in the meantime the aircraft remains in our hangar in an unserviceable condition.

"When the correct parts are received the aircraft will quickly be returned to service which we expect to be on 28th April.

"Last Wednesday our second Dornier aircraft developed a technical problem with one of its essential avionics systems. We identified the faulty component and checked to see if we could take the same component from the aircraft in the hangar and use that whilst we waited for the replacement part to arrive.

"Unfortunately, the component on the aircraft in the hangar was a different part number and General Atomics advised us that we could not use it on the other aircraft. General Atomics did not have the component we needed in stock, so we ordered one from the supplier in the USA.

"The part was shipped using FedEx as they were the only courier company that the part supplier would use. The part has arrived in the UK, but FedEx is now closed until Monday morning, the part will arrive with us on Monday afternoon.

"Last Thursday, General Atomics changed their minds and advised us that we could use the component from our aircraft in the hangar, but that it would have to have a number of software settings changed to make it compatible.

"With the guidance of General Atomics, we made the required settings changes and fitted the component to the other aircraft, and it was taken on a test flight on Friday morning and declared serviceable.

"Due to the foggy conditions on Friday afternoon the aircraft was not used until Saturday morning when after operating the first flight of the day a similar technical problem returned. After further discussion with General Atomics we are making further changes to software settings and conducting further test flying to ensure that we can return the aircraft to passenger services at the earliest possible opportunity.

"We have learned from these events. The avionics component that failed on the second aircraft has not failed previously on either of our aircraft in the 5 years we have been operating this variant of the Dornier 228. Given the $50,000 cost of this component and its history of good reliability it is not something that we would routinely stock in our parts inventory.

Alderney has been left without an air service. Credit: ITV Channel TV

"However we could all but remove the impact of any future failure of this component or its equivalent on the other aircraft if we harmonised the systems on both aircraft. We will now work with General Atomics to explore that possibility.

"We will also discuss all of these events with General Atomics with a view to them providing a better level of support for our operations including access to a wider range of "off the shelf" components from their own stock inventory.

"It is important to note that there are very few Dornier aircraft of the type used for the Alderney commercial service elsewhere in the world.

"Regrettably this limits the availability of parts and the level of support from the manufacturer.

"We know and understand that our customers rely on us to get them to and from Alderney. We will continue to work hard to ensure that our customers can travel.

"Over the past few days, we have tried to charter in alternative aircraft to replace our own but found there were none available, in part due to the limitations of the Alderney runway, we have tried to charter in ferries and also found there were none available.

"We have managed to charter a number of small boats of 12 seats or less and by using several of these we have managed to keep customers moving.

"We recognise that this is not the level of service expected of Aurigny and we apologise again for this."