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Island scores poorly in survey of hold-ups at British airports

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JERSEY Airport was the third worst for delays in Britain last year, according to figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

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The longest delays were at Luton (19.7 minutes) followed by London Gatwick (18.9 minutes) and then Jersey, which had an average delay of 18.7 minutes.

Ports of Jersey said it was disappointed with the results but the data had to be put into context, with weather, delays at other airports, tight turnaround times and technical issues all contributing to delays.

‘Delays to air services can occur for a number of reasons, principally operational or technical issues; factors that are beyond the control of Jersey Airport but nevertheless do impact upon its operations,’ the organisation said.

‘Jersey is a “destination” airport, which means the majority of air services to and from the Island originate from another airport. Therefore, if an inbound flight is delayed from the point of origin, it will impact upon its return service from Jersey.

‘As an island, Jersey is susceptible to inclement weather, often with little or no warning, which is beyond our control but once again [this] can impact upon our operations and cause inevitable delays and cancellations to air services.’

Ports of Jersey added: ‘On average, airlines serving Jersey Airport have an approximate 30-minute “turnaround” on the stand, during which time its ground handlers must process both inbound and outbound passengers, luggage and sometimes the refuelling of the aircraft. Generally, this process is handled well within the turnaround time.

‘However, on occasions delays can occur; as an example, numerous passengers on a flight requiring special assistance to board/disembark the aircraft.

‘Jersey is a featured destination from all other airports listed in the Top 25 of this CAA report, with the exception of Stansted, Bournemouth and Heathrow. Gatwick, for example, is one of the Island’s most popular and frequent air services, operating up to 20 sectors a day during peak periods by two airlines. Impacts of any delays from Gatwick, or indeed any of the other featured airports, will inevitably impact on Jersey significantly.

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‘Along with our airline partners, its appointed agents and our on-site business agencies, we endeavour to ensure that a passenger’s journey through Jersey Airport is a smooth and enjoyable experience. However, during periods of disruption and delays to air services we all work closely together to provide support and assistance to affected passengers.’

The ranking from the CAA takes into account every scheduled and charter flight from 25 major airports. Cancelled flights are not included.

The average delay across all the featured airports was 15 minutes. London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, was found to have the best performance, with aircraft typically taking off 11 minutes late.

Leeds Bradford had the second best record, followed by Belfast City and London City.

A spokesman for the Airport Operators Association said ‘outdated’ airspace infrastructure limits the efficiency of flights.

‘The UK needs to modernise its airspace,’ he explained. ‘Airports are working with air traffic service providers and the government to plan and deliver the necessary changes so everyone can continue to fly with a minimum of delays.’

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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