A government takeover of Channel Islands airline Aurigny was today slammed by rival FlyBe which complained in would face unfair competition from a state subsidised carrier.
UK-based FlyBe, the biggest scheduled airline in the islands, said it was “shocked and dismayed” at the decision of the States of Guernsey to purchase the small regional carrier which is based on the island.
FlyBe warned that the State move to guaarntee four London Gatwick aiprort slots recently given up by British Airways may force it to reduce its own levels of service to Guernsey.
Managing Director, Jim French stated: “FlyBe will not fly in competition with a state subsidised airline, as it would always be fighting an unfair battle. We are happy to compete with anyone on a level playing field, but this would not be a fair fight.
“FlyBe is surprised that the States wish to enter the privatised and deregulated airline industry, as State airlines have proved to be a bottomless money pit for the taxpayers of countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland.”
The airline also expressed its concern that the State would both be operator and licensee for Guernsey services.
Jim French added: “If the goal of the State of Guernsey is to guarantee both services and slots from Guernsey to London Gatwick, we stand ready to reach agreement with the State to provide those air services in a way which will avoid Guernsey entering into the airline business and all that that entails.
“We urge the Government to enter into dialogue with us on this subject as a matter of urgency.”
FlyBe, and its predecessors Jerey European and British European, has been operating scheduled service to the Channel Island for 25 years. Privately owned Aurigny, flies passenger and freight services between the Channel Island, northern France,the Uk mainland and Amsterdam.