The Government is to provide a loan of up to £10 million to Blue Islands. The Minister for Treasury and Resources has signed a Ministerial Decision agreeing to invest in the airline to maintain important links with regional UK airports and a number of European destinations.
As part of the partnership, Blue Islands have
agreed a base carrier deal with Ports of Jersey Limited. Blue
Islands' operational HQ has been in Jersey 15 years, this new strategic
partnership between the Government of Jersey and Ports of Jersey ensures that
Blue Islands, Jersey’s only based carrier, is there to provide essential
services to the Island for another 10 years and beyond. Blue Islands will
continue to operate an extensive Guernsey schedule including Jersey,
Southampton and beyond.
As part of the partnership, Blue Islands have agreed a base carrier deal with Ports of Jersey Limited. This means Blue Islands will move its operating base to Jersey.
The aviation sector has been badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Flights have been grounded across Europe since the end of March and several airlines have failed in the face of an unprecedented collapse in demand. Governments across Europe are providing packages of financial support, as the lender of last resort, in recognition of the importance of connectivity to their economies.
Since the collapse of Flybe on 4 March, Jersey Airport has three main airlines: British Airways, easyJet and Blue Islands. Each of these is facing significant challenges from the impact of COVID-19, and easyJet and BA have received UK Government-backed loans of £600m and £300m respectively.
The Government’s Common Strategic Priorities highlight the importance of robust air links to the economic success of the island, and to Islanders’ health and wellbeing. The Economic Recovery Plan also recognises that secure connections to the UK, and further afield, play a fundamental role in returning to a healthy economy.
The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel, said: "Blue Islands serves the smaller, regional UK airports that either cannot accommodate larger planes or are not commercially viable for the larger aircraft used by easyJet and British Airways.
"This financial support will ensure resilience for our connectivity, maintaining access to essential medical care, education and connections with friends and family. This loan will also offer opportunities to develop more direct routes into European countries, and it provides an alternative to the larger airlines, for whom Jersey is a small operation."
The Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: "Air connectivity has a major role to play in the recovery of Jersey’s economy and is an important component of Jersey’s attractiveness as an International Finance Centre. It is critical that an island with a well-established tourism and hospitality industry, and a mature financial services sector, can maintain reliable air links with the UK and the rest of the world.
"Air connectivity is also essential for many Islanders for work, medical care, education, leisure and maintaining contact with friends and family."
Jersey’s Government will provide a loan of up to £10m, to be repaid over 6 years.