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Inter-island seaplane service plans advance

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A PLAN to launch a seaplane service between Jersey and Guernsey has moved a step forward after the company behind the project applied for an air transport licence.

A Harbour Air Otter seaplane takes off from Vancouver

Clear Harbour Airways is hoping to start operating next year, and has already held meetings with Guernsey Aircraft Registry officials and other official bodies, including the Channel Islands’ director of civil aviation, Gus Paterson. Discussions have also been held with the Guernsey Harbourmaster.

Mr Paterson said that he believed Clear Harbour intended to operate flights on behalf of Canadian firm Harbour Air Seaplanes in the first instance, and that his department had no objections.

He said: ‘The service will be marketed and managed locally. They will sub-contract the carriage of passengers to Harbour Air.’

Mr Paterson said he thought that Clear Harbour could eventually take over all operations at a later date and that while the aircraft was in the air it would be treated like a plane, but as soon as it landed on water it would be handled like a ship.

He said: ‘We have no concerns at all. [Harbour Air] is one of the largest seaplane operations in the world.

‘They know exactly what they are doing and they have the right planes for it.’ However, in contrast to airlines in Jersey, which has an ‘open skies’ policy, airlines flying to and from Guernsey must obtain an air transport licence.

The States of Guernsey Transport Licensing Authority president, Deputy Barry Paint, said that the organisation had received the application last week but would not be discussing it until the new year. The next phase of the process will be the publication of the application in the Guernsey Press to see if there are any objections, before it is discussed by the TLA.

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