Flybe's new States subsidised air link with Heathrow has hit Aurginy's passengers numbers on its Gatwick and Stansted routes across May, the airline has reported, with that reflected in its recent revenue.
Over those two routes, the States-owned-airline said it has lost approximately £80,000, with 2,000 fewer passengers travelling than what it had forecast.
A spokesperson for Aurigny said: "While it is difficult to be precise as this is a constantly changing market we had seen growth in passenger numbers early in 2019 prior to the Heathrow launch.
"In May we carried around 2,000 fewer passengers than expected in our forecast based on last year’s Gatwick and Stansted route numbers."
When earlier this year Economic Development announced it would be subsidising Flybe to operate the route, Aurigny felt it had been snubbed. At the time, Mark Darby, Aurigny's CEO, said his team had made a bid to start a route flying to the international airport, but had not received the backing they would have needed.
Blue Islands has just started its own ground handling service at Guernsey Airport, ending the contract it had with Aurigny. This will also be a hit to the States-owned airline's finances.
Economic Development President Charles Parkinson later clarified that Aurigny would have needed a greater subsidy than Flybe, so it was more fiscally sensible to fund the latter - this was despite the fact that Aurigny is States-owned.
Reflecting on this decision following the news, the Aurigny spokesperson said: "If you take into account that the States of Guernsey have subsidised the Heathrow route around £120,000 per month, then the Heathrow route could have potentially cost the States £200,000 in May alone."
Flybe has been operating daily flights between Guernsey and Heathrow airport since 31 March - giving the island a direct connection to London's biggest airport for the first time in over 20 years. The subsidy saw Economic Development investing £678,000 in to Flybe, and also providing it with a £147,000 discount to land at the airport.
Flybe's route to Heathrow is supposed to run for seven months as a trial, but the possibility of it carrying on has been mooted.
Currently Aurigny operate six daily services to London Gatwick and also flies to London Stansted.
Since the introduction of a 'quasi-open skies policy' last year, both airlines have been increasing the number of destinations they are offering, with Aurigny also deciding to directly compete with Flybe Franchise Partner Blue Islands by flying to Jersey and directly from Guernsey to Southhampton, rather than just via Alderney.
Aurigny has been 'haemorrhaging' public money for years now, losing around £6million in 2017, with similar losses since. While Mr Darby says the airline is on track to break even, the possibility of the Heathrow route continuing past its seven months trial date could set the airline back in reaching that goal.
Pictured top: the Aurigny fleet at Guernsey Airport.
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