British Airways plans to increase capacity and flights between Jersey and London Gatwick for next winter and withdraw its loss-making Jersey - London Heathrow schedule.
The four times a day Heathrow - Jersey service has never made a profit and on average more than a third of the seats have been flying empty.
During the course of the last three years losses have exceeded £10 million.
The revamped all-jet Jersey - Gatwick schedule will provide more choice than any other operator between Jersey and London and will help to maintain the island’s all important links to the London capital and the rest of the world.
British Airways wholly owned subsidiary, CityFlyer Express, will significantly upgrade existing Jersey - Gatwick services - adding more flights and capacity with a brand new schedule which will feature an all-jet weekday operation.
Lord Marshall, Chairman, British Airways, said: “We are very proud of our 60 year history of air links to the island and remain committed to profitable Jersey services. Focusing our Jersey - London services at Gatwick is very necessary to ensure these important British Airways links to and from the mainland are viable for the long term.
“The decision to cease flying the Heathrow service has not been an easy one. Despite previous efforts to reduce costs, the company cannot continue to incur losses of this magnitude indefinitely, without taking remedial action.
“Passengers taking onward flights will find comparable connections to and from the British Airways network at Gatwick. The plans we have in place will ensure that current users will find no significant reduction in service.”
Brad Burgess, Managing Director, CityFlyer Express said: “We are looking forward to building on the success of the well established Jersey - Gatwick link. We will be increasing services from five to six each weekday and putting on brand new 105-seater RJ100 jets, which provide nearly 137 per cent more capacity than the turbo props we currently operate.”
Nine of Jersey’s top 10 worldwide Heathrow connection points are available from Gatwick. Additionally, the airline will add a new dedicated limousine service between Gatwick and Heathrow for premium and business class passengers who require a Heathrow connection.
British Airways also plans extra flights to match profitable demand during the busy summer periods, both midweek and at weekends. Similarly, services during the leaner winter weekends will be reduced to reflect lower demand.
The new-look Jersey schedule will give a better spread of departure and arrival times throughout the day, particularly early morning and late evening, and the extensive choice of onward connections will help promote Jersey’s worldwide links.
The proposed Jersey changes take effect from the first week in November and there will be no job losses as a result of today’s announcement.
The move to cease flying the unprofitable Heathrow - Jersey route underlines the airline’s on-going strategy to focus on profitable market sectors and reduce capacity and exposure on loss making services.
Representatives of the Jersey Transport Authority, with whom British Airways has regularly consulted about the service, have been briefed on the changes in advance of today’s public announcement