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Waves changes its business model

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NEW airline Waves will no longer be selling individual seats on its aircraft, after changing its business model following talks with Guernsey’s Transport Licensing Authority.

One of the Waves Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft in a hangar in Guernsey

When the operator launched last year, it marketed itself as an on-demand air taxi service – which does not require a full air transport licence.

However, questions have since been raised over whether it is meeting the criteria of such a service.

Now, following discussions with Guernsey’s TLA, Waves is to apply for a full air transport licence, and in the interim customers will have to hire the whole of the firm’s plane – a Cessna Grand Caravan – for their exclusive use.

It comes weeks after the start of legal proceedings brought by airline Blue Islands against the TLA, naming Waves as an interested party.

The new business obtained an Air Operator Certificate in September – but Blue Islands has since questioned whether the firm is actually operating as an air taxi service.

It believes Waves should have a local air transport licence to fly passengers because it sells individual seats to customers and it has been marketing seats for sale on flights that have no passengers booked on them.

They also say the airline should have a full licence as the destination – always either Guernsey or Jersey – is specified by the airline, not the customer.

The court case was adjourned last month while the authority decided whether to take action.

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Waves’ deputy chief executive officer Barrie Baxter said: ‘We have had to review our business model following liaison and correspondence with the Transport Licensing Authority in Guernsey.

‘While we believe that our air taxi model was exactly that, we have listened to their guidance and are also preparing to apply for a full route licence between Guernsey and Jersey.

‘In the interim, our valued customers can still fly with us, on demand, by booking the aircraft.’

He maintained that the change in operations ‘is not a directive from the TLA’, however, they respect the authority’s advice and ‘absolutely wish to maintain a very positive relationship with them’.

Individual passengers with pre-booked seats will now be refunded.

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