‘Lifeline’ flight services linking Jersey to Southampton will be relaunching next week as airlines suffer from the second wave of covid.
With Blue Islands having confirmed that its Southampton route is no longer commercially viable, the Government announced this evening that it has now agreed to step in to keep the route running from Monday 30 November.
But other routes may follow if necessary, with the lifeline contract only described as having been reactivated to to “enable regular and reliable flights” to Southampton “initially.”
Passengers will not have to receive a Government-issued code before booking, as they had to earlier in the year.
In May, a lifeline link was also established with Gatwick before commercial services resumed in summer.
Pictured: The Southampton lifeline link will start on Monday.
Then in July, Blue Islands signed a £10m loan deal with the Government to help the island maintain its connections to UK regional airports.
Unlike the lifeline link established with Southampton earlier in the year, the new lifeline flight service will be available to all islanders - not just essential workers.
Costing a flat fee of £99 per leg, flights will run daily Monday to Friday, with two rotations on a Monday and Friday (Jersey to Southampton, returning to Jersey, morning and evening), and a mid-afternoon rotation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Services may be increased or decreased in response to demand.
“This resilience of connectivity will maintain access to vital medical care, island links for students studying in the UK, and those needing travel to see friends and family,” Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham said.
It comes shortly after Jersey experienced its first ever day with no scheduled commercial air traffic on Saturday, coinciding with passenger numbers falling 95% lower than during the same period last year.
Pictured: The blank arrivals and departures screens from Saturday.
BA has suspended its Heathrow link until 2 December and easyJet has suspended all links aside from Gatwick, leaving Jersey with just two routes: Gatwick and Southampton.
Today's announcement also follows enquiries about specific arrangements for university students attempting to get home for Christmas.
Responding to questions from Deputy Rob Ward last week, the Minister for Children, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, said that the Government intended to share more information this week.
When Express asked when and where this information would be published, the Minister responded: “Ministers and officers are meeting to discuss these matters over the next few days and will make any announcement in due course following the proper protocols.”
In addition to homecoming arrangements, the Jersey Student Loan Support Group, which has been campaigning on behalf of local university students, said it wanted clarity on what support would be available for students as they attempt to return home in January.
@GovJersey Would anyone like to advise when the student travel info is appearing? How to book flights, costs, what dates and where from? What is arranged for returning in Jan? What self isolating help will there be?— JsySLSGroup (@JsySLSgroup) November 24, 2020
The lifeline Southampton flights can be booked on the Blue Islands website.
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