A new airline aims to connect Alderney travellers to the budget carriers operating out of Jersey.
Director of the new company, aviation consultant Julian Storey, is convinced that the lure of low cost fares from Jersey to Gatwick will make two return flights a day a viable prospect.
Air Alderney Ltd, as the operation is set to be called, was last week granted exclusive route licences for Jersey and Cherbourg by the States of Alderney.
Mr Storey, a long-time Alderney visitor, is teaming up with Biggin Hill-based Wessex Aviation to operate two eight seater turbo Britten Norman Islanders from the Island. One of the aircraft will be used for freight and charters and the other for scheduled services. Currently Alderney’s only direct air routes are to Guernsey and Southampton, both served by Aurigny. The Island’s direct link to Jersey fell away several years ago.
Mr Storey believes two daily flights to Jersey will pay for themselves if, on average, three seats are filled on each sector throughout the year.
"My instinct is that if we can get people to Jersey where you can get flights to Gatwick for £30, that twice daily to Jersey will be viable," he said. "There are lots of options once you get to Jersey or France.
"But it will be a case of use it or lose it; it does have to be paid for. But I hope Air Alderney will engender the same sort of loyalty that Aurigny used to have."
The States of Alderney are working with the new company to help them obtain their Air Operator's Licence. They have also agreed to give them a capped amount of financial support during their first year.
James Dent, Chairman of Alderney’s Policy and Finance Committee, said re-establishing a link to Jersey again was an exciting prospect.
"It’s very important for Alderney. Jersey is becoming a hub for the Channel Islands. There are low cost fliers coming into Jersey and a great number of routes to the rest of Europe. If we can connect into those routes it has got to be good for Alderney."
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