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New air-taxi service plans to bring back pet travel

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THE operators of a new air-taxi service have said they will soon start carrying passengers – and pets – becoming the first inter-island airline in years to allow animals on planes.

Nick Magliocchetti and Matt Bisson of Waves

Enabling pet travel could mean a revival of inter-island competition for animal exhibitions, which has suffered due to the lack of pet-friendly flights between the islands.

New Guernsey-based airline Waves said that its customers will be able to order inter-island flights on demand online or through an Uber-style app. The operator aims to offer flat-rate flights between Jersey and Guernsey for £65 each way, as well as between Guernsey and Alderney for £45, using a ten-seater aircraft through private hangars rather than airport terminals.

Discussing its animal policy, a spokeswoman for Waves said: ‘The demand was there for it. Being a demand-led business we listen to what the customers are asking for. This was a perfect example of that.

‘Cost will be dependent on the size/weight of the pet but we do not expect the cost of a pet’s travel to exceed that of a standard passenger seat.

‘We will comply with the requirements based on the laws that apply to flying in and out of the continent with pets. It will be the owner’s responsibility to make sure the appropriate animal paperwork is in order.’

Collette Bisson, president of the Jersey Poultry and Ornithological Society, welcomed the news. She said that since airlines had shifted from the smaller Trislander planes to larger aircraft, there had been a total ban on birds and small livestock.

‘This killed inter-island competition,’ she said. ‘For the past few years, the only alternative has been transportation by sea but Condor’s sailings are not geared to a one-day show with departure around lunchtime.

‘The only way of being in time for judging is to sail the day before, which means extra expense paying for a night’s accommodation. It can also involve a great deal of personal disruption including taking time off work and finding someone to tend animals left at home.

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‘Being able to fly would make it quicker and easier for everyone, especially if exhibitors could leave early in the morning and return at the end of the day.’

Waves has now been granted an Air Operator’s Certificate by Guernsey’s air registry, 2-Reg, which means it can start carrying freight and passengers and said it will roll out its pet-friendly policy as soon as further paperwork is approved.

The company plans to offer commercial flights as soon as it has finished a test phase of its operations.

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