Aurigny Air Services
, an airline owned by the government of Guernsey and one of the oldest carriers in the world, is to increase capacity on routes to three UK airports: East Midlands, Stansted and Bristol.
The airline provides an important link to the mainland from the Channel Islands, alongside budget carrier Flybe.
Being the most popular airlines in the area, Aurigny and Flybe enjoy a colourful rivalry, which seems to be centred on prices and Aurigny’s provision of free beverages to customers – “you have to pay for soft drinks with Flybe,” the airline exclaims.
Aurigny’s decision to bolster its UK operations was prompted by rocketing sales at East Midlands and London Stansted, and concerns about the future of Aurigny’s regular flight from Guernsey to Bristol.
The carrier had warned flyers that the Bristol-Guernsey route was facing temporary closure while a propeller-driven aeroplane belonging to the airline was sent for servicing, but a series of complaints forced the airline to rethink its plans.
Speaking about Aurigny’s route to Bristol, airline chief Malcolm Coupar said, “Aurigny does not, as a rule, disrupt its services to such a degree. We are keen to accommodate customers’ concerns".
The airline responded by guaranteeing flights to the southwest throughout December, and boosting capacity on all planes bound for Bristol Airport by 9%, equal to two extra flights a week during November 2010 and March 2011.
East Midlands and Stansted will also see flight capacity rise by 30% on Aurigny routes to the Channel Islands. The additional flights should appear on schedules in November and December 2010, and during March next year.
Planes operating in January and February 2011 will carry “roughly the same” amount of people to and from England, according to the airline, suggesting that Aurigny is pandering to the Christmas holiday market rather than winter sports fans.
Other UK airports served by Aurigny, such as Jersey, Gatwick, and Manchester, as well as French airports Dinard and Grenoble, will not receive any additional flights during the winter season.