Condor hopes to run inter-island ferry service

CONDOR is hoping to launch a dedicated inter-island ferry service next year as part of new States plans to dramatically increase travel between Jersey and Guernsey.

Photo By Steve Sarre 23-11-16.Cotils Sark Room .Cheff Excotive Paul Luxon Condor with the service review. (19420885)
Photo By Steve Sarre 23-11-16.Cotils Sark Room .Cheff Excotive Paul Luxon Condor with the service review. (19420885)

Both island governments this week announced they were resurrecting attempts to set up a trial foot-passenger service for the 2018 holiday season.

Now, Condor has revealed it is to bid for the contract – and if successful would likely offer sailings seven days a week during the summer season.

The crossings would be timed to suit the day-trip market and it is understood the firm would use a leased vessel.

The States of Jersey and Guernsey are due to formally issue requests for expressions of interest in operating the service in the coming days.

The move comes months after negotiations to launch a similar service for this summer collapsed, when Guernsey refused to underwrite half of the venture. It would have cost each island £125,000.

The service would have been operated by Condor, using a leased 41-seater catamaran, with return fares of £59.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said: ‘From my point of view I am determined to ensure we have an inter-island day-trip service.

‘It is essential for economic, cultural and tourism links, and that is why the States of Jersey would be prepared to provide financial support in the form of an underwrite.’

The Senator said the exact figure was not yet known but added: ‘If run successfully, the service would be profitable and therefore wouldn’t cost the States anything.

‘I am sure we will have a lot of interest in this route and I am delighted that Condor has expressed an interest in this trial.’

In a statement, Paul Luxon, Condor’s chief executive, confirmed that the firm would be bidding for the contract, and said its sailing schedule for next year had been configured to take into account a dedicated inter-island service.

‘Condor is dedicated to serving the islands and the company awaits the publication of the tender documents with great interest.

‘Having gained considerable experience from the work we undertook last summer, we expect to submit a tender to provide this dedicated inter-island foot-passenger ferry service trial, running from April to September 2018,’ he said.

Mr Luxon added: ‘Condor’s schedule for next year is also predicated on the basis of a new trial summer inter-island full day day-trip passenger service, which would be in addition to our main schedule.

‘This new service would likely offer early morning departures and late afternoon return sailings seven days a week for the main summer season.’

The firm declined to make any further comment.

Meanwhile, ferry firm Bumblebee, which has operated crossings between Guernsey and Alderney for the last six years, has also said it is interested in operating the service.

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News