Channel Islands operator Aurigny is taking advantage of the longer range of its Embraer 195 regional jet to introduce a series of seasonal flights to the Mediterranean this summer. The aircraft, which was a new edition to the carrier’s fleet in June 2014, is currently used on Aurigny’s primary route with up to four rotations per day between its base at Guernsey Airport and London Gatwick.
After a lot of background work, Aurigny has confirmed that it will commence a series of high season flights to Barcelona this summer. These will operate on a weekly basis from Guernsey between July 23, 2016 and August 13, 2016.
“When we bought the jet we did strongly hint that we’d try to make some extra use of its range and seating capacity by trying out a Mediterranean destination,” said Malcolm Coupar, Commercial Director, Aurigny.
“The Embraer is an investment on behalf of the people of Guernsey and the service to Barcelona is designed as a treat for islanders. We believe this direct service is a first for Guernsey,” he added.
This growth represents a notable change in the network strategy from the state-controlled airline and sees it using the additional capabilities of E-Jet to support market opportunities. Although these initial four return flights are a test, they could lead to a longer schedule next summer or even additional new markets.
Aurigny has previously mainly focussed on supporting the strong demand between the Channel Islands and the UK mainland, a market that remains core to its business. This year it is expanding its network with new links from Guernsey to Leeds Bradford and Norwich during summer 2016.
The new link to Yorkshire will commence from May 27, 2016 and will operate on a four times weekly schedule through the summer period and will revert to a twice weekly offering between October 2016 and May 2017. The new weekly seasonal service to East Anglia will operate between May 14, 2016 and September 17, 2016 and follows the decision by flybe not to return to the Norwich market this year.
“This is an exciting time for Aurigny as we continue to expand our UK network. We’re enhancing the traditional seasonal link with Norwich by adding 45% more seats on the route and flying on a Saturday, not a Sunday. We believe offering customers an earlier start to their holiday will prove more popular,” said Coupar.