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Committee for Economic Development statement on suspension of Liverpool and Southend services

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Friday 17 January 2020

The Committee for Economic Development is clearly disappointed that Blue Islands has felt it necessary to suspend their recently introduced services to London Southend and Liverpool, but appreciate that this is a commercial decision.

We understand both the London Southend and Liverpool services generated healthy passenger volumes in their first season (with the Southend route in particular helping to stimulate healthy growth for the South East market), which has demonstrated the potential for both of these two routes.

The introduction of the Quasi Open Skies Policy in September 2018 has allowed airline operators to introduce and test new scheduled routes to and from the UK swiftly and unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucracy during 2019.  It has helped to increase passenger movements through our airport by 6% in 2019, after decades of declining numbers.  The new routes have also provided better access for tourists, and more choice and more competitive fares for locals. 

With seven new scheduled routes being announced, and six trialled during 2019, it was inevitable that some of these routes would be found to be unsustainable.  However the Committee is surprised that these should include Liverpool and London Southend, which appeared to be attracting reasonable demand in their first seasons.

The Committee for Economic Development is confident that in the long term operators will take positive advantage of the opportunities offered by the introduction of the Quasi Open Skies Policy in a commercially sustainable way, and that the policy will help deliver the Committee's objectives to improve the affordability, reliability and connectivity of air travel for local residents and visitors to Guernsey.

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