Aurigny Air Services
|Company slogan||The Islands' Preferred Airline|
Forest, Guernsey, Channel Islands
|Key people||Derrick Bailey (Founder)
Mark Darby (CEO)
Aurigny Air Services Limited, styled as aurigny (and pronounced /ˈɔəriːniː/) is the flag carrier airline of Guernsey with its head office on the grounds of Guernsey Airport in the Channel Islands, and wholly owned by the States of Guernsey. It operates passenger and freight services between the Channel Islands, northern France and the United Kingdom. Its main base is Guernsey Airport, with other aircraft and crew based at Jersey Airport and Alderney Airport. Aurigny is one of the longest serving regional airlines in the world, and is one of the oldest established airlines in Britain except for Loganair and Monarch Airlines. The origin of its name lies in the Auregnais word for Alderney.
Aurigny Air Services was founded by Sir Derrick Bailey and started operations on 1 March 1968 after British United Airways withdrew from the Alderney to Guernsey route. It initially operated Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, developing a highly efficient network linking the Channel Islands with each other and with France and the United Kingdom. During the first year of operations the airline carried 45,000 passengers between Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney.
Aurigny became the first commercial operator of the Britten-Norman Trislander in July 1971 and the airline remains the world’s largest operator of the type. Use of this larger aircraft enabled the route structure to be developed to include the south coast of England and northern France. In 1977, Aurigny was the first airline in the world to ban smoking on all services. In 1993, Aurigny won a contract to carry mail between the Channel Islands and the UK and in 1999 it began daily services from Guernsey to London Stansted Airport and Amsterdam Airport operated by Saab 340 aircraft. The latter route was later dropped due to poor demand.
Ownership of the airline passed from Aurigny Aviation Holdings to Close Brothers Private Equity on 23 May 2000, but was wholly acquired by States of Guernsey on 15 May 2003, after British Airways announced that it was to cease flying between London Gatwick and Guernsey (just two months before the Island Games). It employs 300 staff in the Channel Islands, France and the United Kingdom. Aurigny also operates charter services, wet-leases aircraft to other operators and is a handling agent for various other airlines which fly into Guernsey, including Air Berlin and Blue Islands.
In June 2006, a survey by market researchers islandopinion.com showed that Aurigny is the most popular airline which served Guernsey. On 21 June 2007, Aurigny got permission from its sole shareholder, the States of Guernsey, to raise a private loan to purchase two new ATR 72-500 aircraft which entered service in March 2009. Aurigny celebrated 40 years in operation in 2008. It was voted 4th best short-haul airline in a poll published in the consumer magazine Which?. In a survey of 30,000 members the magazine looked at 71 airlines and asked readers to rate each carrier for standards of check-in, cabin staff, cleanliness, food and entertainment.
March 2009 saw Aurigny announce that it was to operate a Jersey and London Stansted route, whilst restarting the Guernsey and East Midlands link. Daily flights commenced from 1 May 2009. The frequency of flights from Guernsey to London Gatwick was increased from 4 to 5 daily return flights that day. In August 2009, Aurigny announced that it would be operating winter flights to Grenoble using its ATR 72-500 equipment. The flights ran from 26 December 2009 to mid-way through February 2010. This was repeated for the 2010/2011 winter season, but flights were continued until March. The extension did not prove viable and the previous length of operation was restored for the 2011/2012 season. Thanks to the change, it noted that demand was stronger due to a decreased period of availability.
It was revealed in July 2010 that Blue Islands was planning to buy Aurigny, and was undergoing a due diligence process with the Treasury and Resources department of the States of Guernsey. This sparked major debate throughout the islands, and a Facebook page in opposition to the proposed buy-out gained 530 members. On 14 September, Treasury and Resources announced that the sale would not go ahead.
The withdrawal of Blue Islands from Alderney on 9 May 2011 left Aurigny with a monopoly on that island for the first time in over a decade. However, it was criticised later that year for cutting the number of flights to Southampton, not lowering prices and reducing services to twice daily over that winter; Malcolm Hart later reaffirmed its commitment to the route and admitted that encouraging passengers to fly via Guernsey had been 'the biggest mistake in Aurigny's recent history'. At the end of 2011, it rolled out the first GPS approach system in Europe, for use by its Trislanders at Alderney and Southampton airports. This would allow flights in lower visibility and in poorer weather.
After Flybe announced its withdrawal from the route by March 2014, Aurigny ordered an Embraer 195 to serve its Gatwick route. The aircraft will enter service in June 2014 and a similar aircraft will be wet-leased between March and June to provide capacity in the interim. Additionally, Aurigny also announced an application to fly to London City Airport in January 2014 with an aim of starting the route from May.
In March 2014 a codeshare agreement with rival airline Blue Island commenced on the Guernsey-Jersey route, with Aurigny taking over all ground handling of Blue Island flights. The ground handling operation subsequently being rebranded as 'Aurigny Aviation Services.' Also in March 2014, the wet lease Embraer E195 aircraft arrived from ex-competitor Flybe to operate the Gatwick route in order for Aurigny to provide enough capacity on the route as the sole operator. The jet, G-FBEN, still remains in Flybe colours whilst operating under wet lease and operates 4 Gatwick flights a day with a seating capacity of 118. Wet lease of the Flybe aircraft is due to cease after Aurigny's jet was delivered in July 2014, allowing Aurigny to operate the route using its own aircraft and personnel. The new aircraft on the service is G-NSEY, delivered on June 24th, 2014.
Aurigny Air Services serves the following destinations (at February 2010):
- British Crown Dependencies
- United Kingdom
The airline also previously served the following destinations:
- United Kingdom
The Aurigny Air Services fleet includes the following aircraft (as of May 2014):
The airline also used to operate the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (retired by mid-1980s), the Short 360 (retired 2006) and the Saab 340 (retired early 2000s), as well as leasing a BAe-146 (for summer 2003 charters) and a Boeing 737-300 from Titan Airways to stand in for unserviceable aircraft.
Aurigny announced on 17 April 2014 that it would sell five of its Trislanders and replace them with three second-hand Dornier Do 228s, noting that "the cost of keeping them [Trislanders] in the air is now prohibitively expensive". This move is expected to cost £1 million, with the airline asking the States of Guernsey for a loan in order to fund its Dornier transition. Aurigny's flagship Trislander aircraft nicknamed "Joey", after its registration G-JOEY, has gained great affection over time and it has been suggested that "Joey" should be put on display in Guernsey rather than being sold.
- "Contact us." Aurigny Air Services. Retrieved on 12 February 2011. "Aurigny Air Services Ltd States Airport La Planque Lane Forest Guernsey, GY8 OTD Channel Islands."
- "UK & Ireland Airlines Guide 2011". Airliner World: p.3. March 2011.
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 80.
- "Aurigny reduces Guernsey-Grenoble service". BBC News. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Guernsey to Grenoble route 'more popular'". BBC News. 24 December 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Agreed deal in principle to take over Aurigny". Blue Islands. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "BBC News story about Blue Islands takeover". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Aurigny makes cuts to Alderney-Southampton flights". BBC News. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Aurigny's Alderney flight prices 'will never come down'". BBC News. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Aurigny 'not to blame' for shortage of visitors". Alderney Press. January 2012.
- "Aurigny rolls out system for Alderney and Southampton". BBC News. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Aurigny order plane for Gatwick route". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "GINFO Search Results Summary". Civil Aviation Authority. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- Pinnegar, Edward (5 August 2010). A History of Aviation in Alderney. Amberley Publishing, Stroud. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-84868-981-7.
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