Heathrow link 'would be unviable'

airport

DIRECT flights from Jersey to Heathrow have not been a success in the past and would be unviable if they were reintroduced, Ports of Jersey’s chief executive has said.

However, Doug Bannister told a business briefing this week that the Heathrow link remained an ‘ongoing question’ that remained on the table.

Mr Bannister said that previously the link had required a ‘tremendous amount’ of States subsidy and that he would prefer to see more services linking with Gatwick Airport.

‘Gatwick are now doing more international routes – New York, Bahamas, Cape Town. That is a better option for us,’ he said, adding that the only carrier interested in Heathrow would be British Airways.

‘Heathrow landing fees are five or ten times more than at Gatwick and most of our Gatwick passengers are going to London and not onwards, so it would unviable for BA.

‘We do keep looking at this through the Brexit discussions and talking to Guernsey and the Isle of Man, to see if we can come up with a viable option,’ he added.

At the briefing on the first annual report since Ports of Jersey was incorporated as a States-owned company, questions were also asked about the length of the runway.

Mr Bannister said that ideally it would need an additional 300 metres, but that would mean taking out a third of St Peter’s village – including the parish church – and closing or sinking the main road from St Helier.

‘Larger aircraft would need larger stands on the ground, but the A320 aircraft can already bring in 180 passengers a go. I think that over time, as technology improves, we will be able to take larger aircraft on the existing runway,' he said.

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