Aurigny is on the cusp of finalising a five-year contract that will see the States of Guernsey pay the airline £2 million a year to build a more flexible and market-led service that will hopefully reduce the current losses on the Alderney route.
The Policy & Resources Committee and Aurigny are working towards a new agreement to ensure Alderney’s air connectivity to Guernsey and Southampton for the next five years, as well as more sustainable funding and better performance monitoring through the installation of a Service Level Agreement.
In recent years, the States-owned airline has attributed around £3m of its annual losses to the Alderney route, leading to the launch of a PSO, which has been ongoing for more than two years after the then-Economic Development Committee's original PSO failed to attract any bidders.
It appears that a long-awaited breakthrough has now been made, after the stalled talks were re-opened by Policy & Resources.
“It is important that Alderney has assurance about its air connectivity. It is also important that this is provided in a way that is financially prudent, and that can be delivered by Aurigny," said P&R Committee Member Mark Helyar. "The collective aim of all parties is to ensure air connectivity to Alderney in a financially sustainable manner.
Pictured: The announcement comes following "very positive and can-do discussions" with Aurigny's new CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout.
“The tender process that was overseen by the Committee for Economic Development in the previous term concluded with a clear recommendation, with Aurigny as the preferred bidder. The new Committee has picked up the baton, and very positive and can-do discussions with the new Chief Executive of Aurigny have enabled us to find a solution that will represent value for money for all parties.
“The States of Alderney has provided considerable input into the process, both James Dent and supporting officers, and we are grateful for their clear and pragmatic approach that has helped to resolve this important matter.”
As the commercial agreement is not yet finalised and discussions ongoing, P&R say it "would not be appropriate to provide detail of them" at this time. However the headline plan, which has been revealed, is to finalise a five-year arrangement with £2million yearly subsidy to support the routes.
The contract will, Express understands, give Aurigny flexibility to make revisions to schedules and fares in line with demand and to meet financial targets. Subject to demand there is scope for Aurigny to operate two rotations each day between Alderney and Southampton and up to four rotations per day between Guernsey and Alderney.
Pictured: Aurigny will be able to use the second Dornier to provide more rotations when market conditions are viable.
Aurigny will also have the option to augment the service with chartered aircraft and the use of the second Dornier during busy periods to enable additional flights at busier times of the year.
The contract will also ensure continuity of the patient transfer service for Alderney residents requiring health care in Guernsey.
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