Ports of Jersey has signed a five-year deal with BA which guarantees services to Heathrow until 2027.
After a year of negotiations, the commercial arrangement is projected to result in more than two million people flying between the island and London’s primary hub over that period.
BA’s Chief Commercial Officer Colm Lacy flew into the island today to make the announcement, alongside Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham and Ports of Jersey CEO Matt Thomas.
Research by Oxford Economics predicts that having a Heathrow link will benefit the Jersey economy to the tune of £123m a year by 2025 and support 1,200 jobs.
BA will operate 32 flights a week, including Club World services for business travellers.
Mr Lacy said that Jersey would feature in the airline’s plans to use ‘sustainable aviation fuel’ and provide a convenient way for passengers to offset their carbon footprint.
He added BA was pleased to be able to secure flights to and from Jersey as restrictions lifted after the pandemic, which at one stage was costing the airline £20m a day.
Pictured: BA Chief Commercial Officer Colm Lacy makes the announcement at the Airport on Tuesday morning.
“The connection with Heathrow provides connectivity for islanders as well as enhancing opportunities for both the business and leisure sectors as we build back better,” he said.
Mr Lacy conceded that the airline was still struggling with the impact of covid, as headlines this week about staff shortages, flight cancellations and high fares testified.
“It is fair to say that, at the moment, the whole industry is finding challenges as we ramp up our operations ahead of the summer. We have also been hit with unprecedented levels of covid,” he said.
“The whole industry is in that rebuilding phase but we are confident in terms of our plans. We recognise that it is challenging in terms of our customers as well as our team, and we are doing all we can to make sure we return to a level of service that people expect of BA.
“The plans for recruitment are in place but the curveball on the day is within the complexity of an airport, which requires all parts to work. If any one part gets hit, it can have a significant impact. We are doing all we can to get through this.”
Mr Thomas said: “The importance of this announcement today has a wider island context rather than a specifically impacting Ports of Jersey. It means that, for the next five years, our major hub carrier will be flying to one of the global hubs.
Pictured: Jersey passengers will be able to continue to tap into Heathrow’s 185 global connections.
“We will benefit not just from the 130-odd onward destinations from Heathrow that BA service but also the 185 in total, compared to Gatwick’s 68.
“But we’re not losing anything here because Easyjet will be serving Gatwick, so we have low-cost carrier into the low-cost airport, and we have our hub carrier to the hub airport, as well as our regional connectivity with Blue Islands.
“We are well set up and the next phase will be growth into Europe.”
Mr Thomas added that he expected significant investment into the BA lounge in Jersey over the five-year period.
Crossrail services connecting Heathrow to the centre of London are due to begin this autumn.
Pictured top: Senator Lyndon Farnham, BA CCO Colm Lacy and Ports of Jersey CEO Matt Thomas.
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