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Aurigny stakes a claim in Gatwick talks

Aurigny stakes a claim in Gatwick talks

Sunday 28 January 2024

Aurigny stakes a claim in Gatwick talks

Sunday 28 January 2024

Aurigny expects to be involved in talks over Gatwick's future - with the airport being the main 'lifeline' link to the UK for the Bailiwick.

The consultation, which was launched in December, was asking for views on proposals to reform the way slots are allocated at certain British airports.

The airports included in the 'Level 3 slot allocation consultation' included Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, and Bristol which Aurigny flies to from Guernsey, as well as Heathrow, London City, Stansted, and Luton, none of which any airline currently flies to from here.

The consultation focuses in part on the practice of airlines 'subleasing' slots at those airports to other airlines, while retaining the ownership of the time slots so they can use them again in the future.

Aurigny says it does not do this, but the concept of owning time slots at UK airports is one that Aurigny is keenly aware of.


Pictured: (inset) Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO at Aurigny.

The decision by the States of Guernsey to buy the airline in 2003 was partly down to a desire to secure the existing slots at Gatwick airport.

The bailiwick's lifeline air routes are enshrined in law as the Guernsey/Gatwick, Guernsey/Alderney, Guernsey/Southampton, and Alderney/Southampton services.

Any risk to those air links would be expected to be defended rigorously by Aurigny and the States.

Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO at Aurigny, confirmed there is no risk to our lifeline routes, and explained that although Aurigny hasn't been involved in the current discussions over air slots, he expects the airline to be involved at a future stage.

Mr Bezuidenhout also explained that the consultation could lead to benefits for Aurigny as the airline could reap the benefits of streamlining its fleet which will meet Gatwick's demands for more fuel efficient aircraft to use its runways. 

“While Aurigny has not yet participated in the Gatwick consultation that the Department for Transport has launched in the UK, we expect to be involved in the discussions as the process progresses," he said.

“The consultation process aims to reduce the practice of airlines leasing airport slots they do not fully use to other airlines while still retaining the ownership of the historic slot usage rights. Our airline fully utilises our Gatwick airport slots, and we do not lease them to any third-party carriers. Therefore, we expect any future changes in arrangements with Gatwick will not affect us. The reduction in slot-leasing practices will increase the availability of airport slots in the market, which may benefit us if we need to seek additional slots.

“Many airports, including Gatwick, have in effect reduced charges for airlines that operate more fuel-efficient aircraft to promote environmental sustainability. This is particularly beneficial for a smaller carrier like Aurigny, given the superb fuel efficiency of our ATR fleet. As a result, our ATR operations have benefited relatively more from these changes, which in turn has helped us to keep inflation-driven fare increases as low as possible.”


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