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Aurigny boss: "We're committed to Alderney"

Posted Fri 19th August 2011 at 16:32

Aurigny is "committed to Alderney" according to the airline's boss.

Malcolm Hart was responding to islanders' concerns after The Journal revealed Alderney-Southampton services would be cut by nine per cent from November.

Since the story was broken last week many hoteliers and guest house owners have criticised the plans, with some fearing Alderney's only direct UK service could eventually be cut altogether.

But in a letter to residents, Mr Hart said: "Although our history and roots would say otherwise, some people still doubt our commitment to Alderney and believe that we are planning a tactical withdrawal or closing down the vitally important link with Southampton. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the avoidance of any doubt, Aurigny is committed to Alderney for many years to come."

Last week Aurigny - Alderney's only airline - said it was reducing services to Southampton in order to cut the amount of empty seats. The airline hopes more Alderney passengers will fly via Guernsey from different UK airports, including Manchester, East Midlands and Gatwick.

Mr Hart said research showed a number of Southampton passengers travel to the airport from all over the UK.

"By looking at the post codes of passengers who used the Alderney-Southampton service we found that a large volume lived a long distance away from the south coast, some as far away as Scotland. Many would have commuted across the country by car or train to pick up their flights to Southampton.

"Some time ago we calculated that by delivering a service to these passengers from our other UK departure points, flying via Guernsey, we could have a much more cost-effective and voluminous offering. Our plan for 2012 (compared to 2010) is to remove 4,000 seats from our Alderney-Southampton, but by adding 13,500 more seats on our Alderney-Guernsey services, more capacity should be available to passengers who specifically want to use the Alderney-Southampton route."

Mr Hart said Aurigny wanted to increase the number of visitors to Alderney.

"Our long-term aim is to increase the number of visitors to Alderney by offering a cheaper means of travel to and from the UK and as such we have introduced a special £75 low price to encourage people to try it.

"In summing up I must stress that Aurigny is absolutely committed to Alderney and intends to play an active role in sustaining the island's visitor economy for decades to come."

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