Tuesday 09 December 2014
Treasury is today providing an interim update on the Key Performance Indicators and targets that its Supervisory Sub-Committee established for Aurigny Air Services earlier this year.
Earlier this year, the Sub-Committee set a target for Aurigny to offer 60% of its available fares on the Gatwick route at £65 or less (excluding UK Air Passenger Duty). In the first nine months of the year, the airline actually exceeded this target, offering 72% of its seats on the route at £65 or less, with 44% paying £50 or less.
Commenting on the figures, Minister for the Treasury and Resources Department, Gavin St Pier, said:
"These arrangements are in keeping with the undertaking given by the Department when it reported to the States in 2013 on the Gatwick services to look at introducing fare targets for Aurigny on the route to ensure that it continued to deliver an efficient operation.
With over two thirds of passengers travelling to Gatwick at or below these fares, which include baggage charges, the Department is pleased to see that Aurigny is sticking to its commitment to offer plenty of opportunity for travel to and from London at a reasonable price."
The Department has also discussed with Aurigny concerns that have been expressed about its higher fares at the other end of the spectrum. Whilst the interim results show that only 2.3% of its passengers are paying more that £160, Aurigny recognises the impact that concerns about its highest fully flexible fares, previously in excess of £200, can have on the perception of its service.
Deputy St Pier continues:
"The Sub-Committee has welcomed Aurigny's moves to reduce its highest fully flexible fares, which are intended to help manage demand at peak periods, to below £200.
One of the other key targets established by the Sub-Committee for Aurigny was for it to demonstrate its commitment to an efficient operation by reducing its controllable costs per available seat kilometre by at least 2½%. Whilst details of these costs obviously need to remain confidential for commercial reasons, the Department is pleased to see that Aurigny has exceeded this target in the first nine months of the year, which it has achieved by keeping tight control on its own costs whilst performing more flying."
One area where Aurigny has not met its targets has been in the area of punctuality, where the challenging target across the airline was for 89% flights to depart within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time. Whilst overall punctuality for its fleet was in line with this target in the early part of the year, it did fall during the course of the summer to a point hovering just over 80%. In order to improve its performance, it has made changes to the management of its Guernsey ground handling operations. It has also appointed a UK-based Ground Operations supervisor who will be better placed to further improve the performance of its ground handling agents at Gatwick and Manchester and its other UK stations. The result was that, by the end of November, the overall result for the year to date had climbed back up to 86%.
A further target established by the Supervisory Sub-Committee has been for Aurigny to maintain a capability to operate to Alderney. At a strategic level, it continues to support Aurigny's plans to replace the aging Trislander fleet by the introduction of the Dornier aircraft to sustain services to Alderney, which were approved by the States earlier in the year. Operationally, it is acknowledged that the transition to the Dornier hasn't gone as smoothly as was planned, for reasons largely outside of its control, and it encountered well reported difficulties. The Sub-Committee has therefore welcomed Aurigny's recent decision to wet lease in additional aircraft as a short-term measure to improve the robustness of its Alderney operations as the transition gets underway.
The Sub-Committee has discussed with Aurigny concerns that have been expressed about the codeshare arrangements with Blue Islands on the Jersey-Guernsey services, notably around availability of seats at peak periods.
Deputy St Pier explains:
"In the absence of any available spare aircraft at peak periods, the options to provide additional capacity are at present very limited indeed. With Blue Islands having withdrawn a number of their services from Jersey to Europe, there will be less connecting traffic travelling from Guernsey, which may also alleviate the situation. We recognise the importance of this route to our economy and community and will continue to closely monitor the situation."
Some of the other key points from the interim figures include:
- A monthly average load factor on the Gatwick services of 78%, with an average of only 2.8% of flights operating full;
- A significant increase in the number of passengers carried since March, principally attributable to the expansion of the airline's Gatwick operation;
- A substantial improvement in the airline's underlying financial performance, with losses before exceptional items forecast to reduce to £1.45 million in 2014, compared to over £3 million in 2013;
- Monthly increases in sales since March of between 25% and 30%;
- The introduction of an additional weekend rotation to London Gatwick; and
- The launch of the new London City services.
Deputy St Pier concludes:
"The last year has been one of significant change, transition and expansion for Aurigny. By many airline's standards, let alone one as small as Aurigny, these would be challenging changes to manage. Whilst it has not all been plain sailing, the Department welcomes the progress that Aurigny has and continues to make in meeting the targets that have been established for it."