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Waves defends ‘air taxi’ status after Blue Islands calls for judicial review

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FLIGHT operator Waves has argued that its inter-island service is booked on demand, and is not scheduled, after being asked to justify why it qualifies as an air taxi.

One of Waves’ planes Picture: STEVE SARRE

Rival airline Blue Islands says, in papers linked to a legal action, that Waves is not an air taxi service and so should not be exempt from having a local air-transport licence.

Waves has said that it does not operate as a scheduled airline, therefore does not offer timetables or schedules for inter-island flights.

‘Currently, passengers wishing to book a flight with Waves must call or email the customer service team and request the destination, date and time they wish to travel,’ the company said in mid-November.

Waves is yet to launch an app which people would use to book the service.

The Guernsey States’ Transport Licensing Authority is responsible for granting commercial operators with local air transport licences. In its court action calling for a judicial review of the situation, Blue Islands said its lawyers wrote to the TLA saying it believed Waves did require an air transport licence.

On 10 March, the TLA replied to Keystone Law confirming ‘only that matters appropriate to their remit would be complied with in terms of the current legislation and that the interested party [Waves] was aware of the requirements under law’.

On 5 September, Blue Islands wrote to the TLA highlighting that no application for a licence appeared to have been made – something the authority confirmed in a response on 5 October.

Blue Islands wrote again with its concerns on 23 October and 2 November, but got no reply.

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The airline then instructed Mourant Ozannes to act on its behalf. The firm wrote to the TLA on 14 November giving a week for appropriate action and said that an application would be made for permission to seek a judicial review of their action or inaction.

A letter dated 20 November from the TLA said it had written to Waves on 8 November raising Blue Islands’ concerns. However, the letter added that as it had asked Waves to respond by 24 November, the TLA could not respond substantively until it had received those comments.

Blue Islands says that the TLA has consistently failed to provide any explanation or confirmation of the review, considerations and process which they did or did not undertake in advance of Waves operating commercially between Guernsey and Jersey.

It is arguing for a judicial review of the decision of the TLA to not require Waves to need an air transport licence.

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