Airline investigates route from Heathrow to Jersey
THE airline Flybe has confirmed it is considering the viability of a Jersey-to-Heathrow route.
The announcement comes nearly a decade after the last regular service between the Island and the west London airport, operated by BMI, was axed amid ‘deteriorating market conditions’.
Flybe has previously confirmed its intention to open new routes from an expanded Heathrow, but this is the first time it has specifically named Jersey in that context.
The UK parliament last month voted in favour of the expansion plan, which will now face a potentially protracted planning process. Work on the runway, without delays, is not expected to begin until 2021.
A spokesperson for the airline said: ‘Flybe is pleased that the long-awaited decision on airport expansion, as outlined recently in the government’s National Policy Statement, has finally been made.
‘The airline will continue to work with Heathrow to review opportunities for future growth and Jersey would be part of the consideration sets for any such development.’
The statement indicated support from authorities in Jersey would form part of the decision-making process.
Myra Shacklady from Ports of Jersey said: ‘We see any expansion of Heathrow as a positive step and would work with any interested airline considering establishing a service.
‘It is still early days and no formal approach to Jersey Airport has been made. We will be interested to see if regional slots are going to be allocated and if they will be supported by a beneficial landing fee arrangement that will allow airlines to operate a viable service.’
She added that support or incentives offered to airlines serving Jersey would remain confidential for commercial reasons.
The JEP also approached the two biggest airlines at Jersey Airport about potential routes. British Airways said it never discussed future routes before they were announced.
In a statement easyJet said: ‘We have been serving Jersey for over ten years and have been committed to providing even more choice for our customers travelling to and from Jersey, carrying over two million passengers in that time and over 600,000 of those in the last 12 months alone.
‘We continue to grow our network sustainably, adding new routes – we now operate a total of eight routes from Jersey – and our Jersey capacity is set to increase by around 9 per cent this summer. We continue to work with the airport to review future opportunities.’
Robert Mackenzie, managing director of CI Travel Group, would welcome the reinstatement of a Heathrow link but said he did not expect it to happen in the short term.
He said: ‘Connectivity is the most wonderful thing about Heathrow, so we could do very well on that front, but any new route won’t happen soon and it’s a long time since Heathrow was last served, so the market may have changed by then.
‘But if we were to ask “Is there an airport that we should fly to that we don’t fly to?”, then that would be it. And certainly, I’m sure when the third runway opens it will happen within a fairly short space of time.’
lHow does Jersey Airport attract new airlines and new routes? News Focus: Pages 8 and 9.