Le Cocqs are applying for a licence to fly in competition to Guernsey States-owned Aurigny on the inter-island route.Le Cocqs claim that their proposed new service is vital because Aurigny has reduced the number of flights and made it more difficult for passengers to get a seat on inter-island flights.In documentation that Le Cocqs will submit to the Guernsey Transport Board (GTB), they say that the number of weekly flights between the islands has been more than halved from 120 to 59 and that analysis of a recent two-week period showed that over 31 per cent of flights had no seats available the day before departure.However, Aurigny will argue that although the number of flights has reduced, it has maintained capacity by replacing the Trislander aircraft with the larger 39-seater Shorts 360 on the route.Le Cocqs say that Aurigny’s claim to have recently invested heavily in upgraded equipment for the route is somewhat misleading.’As far as we are aware the route is being flown by Aurigny’s long-serving Shorts 360, a second-hand Shorts 360 recently purchased from Loganair and the well-established Trislander fleet.
We therefore struggle to accept their claim that granting us a licence “”would undermine this investment””,’ said Le Cocqs chairman Noel Hayes.Aurigny managing director Malcolm Hart has denied that Aurigny has a monopoly between Jersey and Guernsey.
He said the airline already faced severe price competition from ferry companies and Flybe was also able to offer inter-island seats on a standby basis.’Allowing another airline on the route would jeopardise the current levels of service and would not benefit passengers in the long term,’ he said.But Mr Hayes responded: ‘Interestingly, Flybe, the only other air operator licensed on the route, has declared its support for our application.’He added: The restrictions on Flybe’s licence have prevented this operating as a practical alternative air service, as it is not pre-bookable.
If you want to book any earlier than at the very last minute before flying, you have to contact Aurigny.
Clearly this puts them in a far more competitive position and effectively rules out Flybe as a realistic challenger for passengers,’ said Mr Hayes.As far as competition from ferry companies is concerned, the Le Cocqs chairman said: ‘To claim that the longer ferry journey between Jersey and Guernsey offers realistic competition to the speed and convenience of air travel is clearly more than a little bit disingenuous.’