A number of passengers have complained following delays and cancellations caused by a technical issue with an Aurigny plane on Saturday.
While the airline was attempting to fix the jet so it could fly between Gatwick and Guernsey, some passengers have said communication offered by the airline's staff at the London hub airport was not satisfactory.
The technical problem first occurred on Saturday morning, meaning the GR601 was delayed with a knock on impact on the GR606 and 607 which were both cancelled. While some passengers were offered alternative flights so they could travel from Guernsey to the UK, a number of people were left stranded at Gatwick for the day while they waited for updated information.
One of those passengers told Express she was unhappy with the level of information communicated by Aurigny's ground staff at Gatwick. The female passenger said she and others were "left in departures" from when they first checked in for their flight at 06:30 Saturday morning with "no information on the boards" and said they were "just told to keep coming back to the information desk every hour."
She said they were offered just two refreshment vouchers worth £5 each despite being delayed for more than 12 hours before their flight was finally cancelled. The decision was only made to cancel the flight after they had been told the part was available and would take 20 minutes to fix. Passengers on that flight were then told that it was cancelled due to an issue with lighting at Guernsey Airport.
In response, a Guernsey Airport spokesperson said the issue related to a lightning strike experienced at the airport at the end of May; which disrupted a number of airfield lighting circuits. The majority of those circuits were re-instated within 24 hours but "regretfully the extent of the strike meant that one single circuit (the threshold lights) were only able to be re-instated to 50% of their original serviceability."
The spokesperson said that whilst temporary arrangements have been made to mitigate some disruption to airlines (when flying after dark) these have been limited to one runway end; meaning that "only aircraft approaching from the west can continue at night unaffected. When the wind is westerly and approaches from the east are required, then the threshold lights apply restrictions on airlines’ procedures in landing after dark."
It is hoped that repaired circuit boards will be delivered today or tomorrow and will be fitted immediately and replacement spares are also due to be delivered.
The passenger has also queried why Aurigny did not charter an emergency replacement aircraft when it became apparent the technical issue with the jet was going to take some time to fix, affecting hundreds of peoples' bookings.
Finally, she said she was left feeling "furious, distressed and feeling hideously dirty" when she finally flew home on Sunday morning, more than 24 hours later.
In response to this woman's feedback and others, Aurigny has apologised.
“We would like to sincerely apologise for the disruption our customers experienced on Saturday. We are actively reviewing the sequence of events on the day and will look at steps we can take to ensure we handle the situation better in future. We fully take on board the feedback from our customers. On this occasion communication was poor, and this is something we must improve.”
Aurigny also said it did try to charter an aircraft to replace the jet whilst it was out of action, but this was not possible on this occasion.
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