Classic plane for sale – requires some work…

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Grant Thornton Channel Islands recently took possession of a former Jersey Airlines De Havilland Heron, which once plied routes between the Channel Islands, Europe and the UK.

After being absent from the Island’s skies for several years, in 1990, a group of local enthusiasts spotted the then-Ministry of Defence-owned aircraft up for auction at Sotheby’s in London and jumped on the chance to bring it home.

After lodging a successful bid, the group brought the aircraft back to Jersey but then set about restoring the aircraft in Coventry – a project which was expected to take six weeks. It ended up taking 11 years.

Nonetheless, in September 2018, Willy Weber – a former British Airways Boeing 747 pilot from St Brelade – brought the Heron, named the ‘Duchess of Brittany’, home. At the time, Mr Weber said he felt ‘absolutely ecstatic’ when he saw Jersey coming into view from the cockpit and it was hoped the aircraft could be used for air shows, golf events and island-hopping. But the Heron has remained firmly on the ground at southern-most side of the Airport.

And now it has emerged that the company which owns the aircraft has gone into liquidation and the plane must be sold.

An advert, which appeared in Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s JEP, said: ‘The aircraft is believed to be the only Heron in the world in its original configuration. The aircraft requires restoration to an airworthy state or simply as a static display. A spare-parts inventory is also available for purchase. The aircraft will require removal at the purchaser’s expense.’

The JEP yesterday contacted Mr Weber for comment. However, he said he was unable to say anything, apart from how he was ‘disappointed’.

Alan Roberts, director of Recovery & Reorganisation for Grant Thornton Ltd said of the sale: ‘This is a lovely aircraft of truly historic importance to the Channel Islands. Any purchaser will be preserving this asset for the current generation of islanders who rarely see such interesting classic aeroplanes.’

Anyone interested in buying the plane, should email tom.angus@gt-ci.com or call 885748.

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