Aurigny to Stop London City Route

Aurigny Embraer 195
Aurigny Embraer 195 | Alec Wilson CC BY-SA 2.0

Aurigny announced a reorganization of the way it operates through London.

The Board of Aurigny has reviewed the implications of the States’ Strategic Review. A number of recommendations were made by the two reports which emerged and the Board has focussed on three areas within the review process:

  • The Gatwick route is a key lifeline route
  • Aurigny should continue to find improvements in the customer experience and particularly through the Gatwick gateway both for access to Guernsey and onward connectivity, and
  • Pricing for access to and from Guernsey should be an “economic enabler”

During the next quarter, a number of changes which the company has been working on for some time, will be implemented. These changes are designed to improve efficiency and improve the financial performance of the airline.

Aurigny will operate its last flights to London City on 27th October 2017. The key reasons for ending the route include:

  • A lack of demand for the route, with over 50% of seats empty, despite a sustained promotion of the route over the last two years.
  • High operational costs associated with the route, including high airport fees and handling costs have reduced the capacity to offer fares at economically viable levels.
  • City Airport prone to weather disruption, particularly at times when Guernsey has faced adverse conditions, compounding the situation.
  • Other operational difficulties experienced at City. For example, construction work at Canary Wharf has increased flight times and reduced seat capacity by virtue of payload restrictions.
  • Spare capacity on our other two London routes, Gatwick and Stansted, will be able to accommodate the demand.

Resultant increased efficiency on the Gatwick route should enable the airline to maintain/improve the competitive nature of its fares. It also means Aurigny will be able to refocus its efforts on maintaining and improving its other existing routes, in its role as an economic enabler, including Guernsey’s main gateway to the UK, London Gatwick Airport.

The Gatwick route is a key lifeline service for the island and the quality of Aurigny’s service at Gatwick is crucial to both the image and prosperity of Guernsey. With this in mind, at the start of December, Aurigny will be launching its own ground operations at London Gatwick, in a move that will see it employ a dedicated team of Aurigny staff at the busy London airport. Aurigny already successfully handle all of its own operations in Guernsey, Alderney and Southampton, and has a proven track record in this key area of activity.

Becoming its own handler will help Aurigny enhance the overall customer experience by improving disruption handling and passenger communication. It means that passengers will be dealing with Aurigny staff throughout the whole travel experience, from when they first arrive at the airport and visit check-in.

Aurigny CEO Mark Darby said:

“This is really an exciting opportunity for us to improve the service we provide customers at Gatwick Airport. It is one of the UK’s busiest airports and one of the island’s main gateways into the UK. We believe this is the right thing to do for our customers and for Guernsey. It will help us to cut disruption, improve our customer service and enhance the overall experience we offer on the busiest route to the island.

“The decision to end our London City service was not taken lightly, but after considerable effort and investment, it has just not proved to make commercial sense. There are a number of key factors at play, not least the high costs of operating to London City and the lack of demand for the route. Despite our very best efforts and regular promotions, there sadly is not sufficient demand to make this service work.”

States’ Trading Supervisory Board President, Deputy Charles Parkinson said:

“The board is supportive of Aurigny’s plans to deploy its own team of staff at Gatwick Airport and the benefits this will clearly bring.

“We also support the decision to cease the London City operations as it is a loss-making route. There is considerable pressure on Aurigny to improve its financial position and I know this is something its Board takes very seriously. Indeed, the revised shareholder objectives that have been recommended following the review include a requirement for Aurigny to move to a sustainable operating surplus. Of course, this still must respect the airline’s role as an economic enabler and that it will continue to maintain a good network of links to the UK, including its two remaining service to London Gatwick and London Stansted. We are also satisfied Aurigny can accommodate the demand on its Gatwick and Stansted routes.”

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