24 November 2020
Lifeline air services between Jersey and the UK will be reintroduced from Monday 30th November.
The second wave of the Covid pandemic, resulting in the introduction of lockdown measures across the UK, has again negatively impacted the demand for air travel.
As a result, Government of Jersey has reactivated the contract for the provision of lifeline air services with Blue Islands, to enable regular and reliable flights to Southampton initially, due to the route being no longer commercially viable for the airline.
Unlike those introduced earlier in the year, the flights will be available to all Islanders, not just essential workers. Flights will run daily Monday to Friday, with two rotations on a Monday and Friday (Jersey to Southampton, returning to Jersey, morning and evening), and a mid-afternoon rotation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Services can be increased or decreased in response to demand. Passengers will be charged £99 per leg, and bookings should be made via blueislands.com.
In recent weeks, as the number of COVID cases across the UK has increased, and with the Island’s requirement to self-isolate days upon arrival from the UK, the demand for flying has reduced significantly. Following the announcement of the lockdown in England on 31st October, the demand for flying has reduced further. Passenger numbers are currently down 95% compared to this time in 2019.
Jersey Airport has three main year-round airlines: British Airways, easyJet and Blue Islands. Each of these is facing significant challenges from the impact of COVID-19. Earlier this month, British Airways announced the suspension of their Heathrow link until 2nd December. easyJet is currently flying Jersey to Gatwick four times a week, having suspended other links. This leaves Jersey currently with links only to Gatwick and Southampton.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport, and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “We’re committed to providing off-island connectivity for Islanders. It’s evident that many routes are not commercially viable for airlines to operate in the current climate, but through our lifeline contract with Blue Islands, we can ensure services continue.
“This resilience of connectivity will maintain access to vital medical care, Island links for students studying in the UK, and those needing travel to see friends and family. At the same time, we have an established testing programme which ranks among the most effective in Europe to continue to protect our borders.”
Blue Islands’ Chief Executive Officer, Rob Veron, said: “We are proud to work with the Government of Jersey to ensure the provision of essential lifeline services between Jersey and the UK during these unprecedented times.”
Blue Islands flights will continue until the lifeline flights start, so that there will be no loss of connectivity.