Aurigny Air Services
|Frequent-flyer program||frequent flyer|
|Company slogan||The Islanders' 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 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 four to five daily return flights that day. In August 2009, Aurigny announced that it would be operating winter flights to Grenoble using its ATR 72-500 aircraft. 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 entered service in June 2014 and a similar aircraft was 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.
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, remained in Flybe colours whilst operating under wet lease and operated four Gatwick flights a day with a seating capacity of 118. The wet lease of the Flybe aircraft ended after Aurigny's jet was delivered in July 2014 and it was returned, allowing Aurigny to operate the route using its own aircraft and personnel. The new aircraft on the service is G-NSEY, delivered on June 24, 2014
In April 2015, Aurigny entered an ATR42-500 aircraft G-HUET on the Guernsey-London City route. The 48 seater aircraft operates twice daily to the city on weekdays and covers other routes during the day and at weekends.
In March 2014 a codeshare agreement with rival airline Blue Islands commenced on the Guernsey-Jersey route, with Aurigny taking over all ground handling of Blue Islands flights in Guernsey. The contract for the codeshare agreement is for two years. The service uses Blue Islands ATR 42 aircraft with each airline selling half the seats onboard.
In December 2015, Aurigny announced its new services from Guernsey will be to Leeds Bradford, which would start on 27th May 2016 and to Norwich would start on 14th May 2016, using it's ATR 72 and 42 aircraft.
Aurigny Air Services serves the following destinations (at July 2015):
- British Crown Dependencies
- United Kingdom
- Bristol (Bristol Airport)
- East Midlands (East Midlands Airport) (Leicestershire)
- Leeds Bradford (Leeds Bradford Airport) (Yorkshire) (begins 27 May 2016)
- Manchester (Manchester Airport)
- Norwich (Norwich International Airport) (Norfolk) (seasonal) (begins 14 May 2016)
- Southampton (Southampton Airport)
The airline also previously served the following destinations:
- British Crown Dependencies
- United Kingdom
The Aurigny Air Services fleet includes the following aircraft (as of January 2016):
|ATR 42-500||1||—||48||G-HUET, used mainly on Guernsey-London City Airport route.|
|ATR 72-500||2||—||72||G-COBO & G-VZON|
|Britten-Norman Trislander||3||—||15||Used for Alderney Airport to Southampton Airport and Guernsey Airport, and also the Guernsey to Pleurtuit Airport Route. Will be retired in 2016.|
|Dornier Do 228||2||—||18||G-LGIS & G-SAYE Replacing the Britten-Norman Trislanders|
|Dornier Do 228 NG||1||1||19||G-OAUR Replacing the Britten-Norman Trislanders|
|Embraer 195||1||—||122||G-NSEY, used on Guernsey-Gatwick Airport route|
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. One Dornier Do 228 arrived on trial in November 2013 but later returned to its owner.
Aurigny announced on 17 April 2014 that it would sell its five 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. G-JOEY's last flight was on 28 June 2015. Another ex-aurigny Trislander, G-XTOR, has appeared as an Islander in the Bond film Spectre (2015 film).
The airline was revealed as the previously unnamed customer behind an order for a Dornier 228NG aircraft made at the Paris Air Show in June 2015. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in late 2015.
Aurigny are rumoured to be planning a 'route to the sun' for 2016. No further details have been announced.
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- "From Aurigny with love...". Guernsey Press.
- "Aurigny Air Services". Airliner World. October 2015. p. 7.
- 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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