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Industry welcomes move toward open skies policy

Industry welcomes move toward open skies policy

Thursday 14 June 2018

Industry welcomes move toward open skies policy

Representatives from Guernsey's aviation and business industries have been speaking out to welcome the announcement that Economic Development wants an open skies policy for the island.

The plan is for a new transport licensing system to be developed, that is more relaxed and easier to access.

Its intended role would be to introduce greater competition and flexibility to transport links available.

Aurigny released a statement on the announcements soon after they were made, saying it would now need to look at how they could be required to change if the new system was introduced: "We will now need to review the proposals and assess the likely impact on our operations; whether it is likely to give rise to new opportunities or have any impact on our existing routes.”

But the newest party to the industry, Waves, said it was always positive towards new competition and improved connectivity for Guernsey.

“We have always had a positive and encouraging view towards industry competition on the island and welcome any change that will improve connectivity for the local community," Emy De La Mare, Head of PR and Marketing at Waves, said.

When contacted for comment, Blue Islands' CEO said he will "issue a statement in the forthcoming days".

Business industry is one of the most affected by any limitations to travel off of and onto Guernsey. When Aurigny closed its London City route because of low usage, for example, it was shown that a large proportion of the people that did use that route was for business meetings, often all within one day.

Representative bodies for local business have in turn welcomed the news that could see them with more links to the UK in the future.

shutterstock Heathrow

Guernsey has not had a direct link to Heathrow since around the turn of the century.

John Clacy, Chairman of the Institute of Directors Guernsey, said they welcomed the news, and highlighted the need for increased capacity to airports such as Heathrow. 

"[We] welcome the publication of the air transport licensing policy framework and support the move to a "quasi-open skies" policy for the regulation of air routes," he said.

"The IoD also supports the committees focus on a resumption of the Heathrow service, which would bring major benefits for business travel and help to reverse the recent decline in capacity, choice and passenger numbers on the London routes."

Similarly, David Oxburgh, Chairman of the Guernsey International Business Association (GIBA), said he welcomed the changes proposed as a step in the right direction.

"GIBA welcomes the changes proposed by the Committee for Economic Development to Air Transport Licensing. The move to an “open skies” policy for all other than the Gatwick and Alderney routes is a very definite step in the right direction," he said.

"We agree with the Committee’s view that funding should be provided to support routes which would not otherwise be started or sustained and hope that the Committee’s proposals in this regard are approved by the States in July, so that the vital work to strengthen our air links, making them more reliable and affordable, can progress quickly."

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