Friday, 26 June 2020

Guernsey and Isle of Man 'air bridge' to start in July

Travel between Guernsey and the Isle of Man will get a whole lot easier in July following a special agreement between the two islands that will allow travel between the two without the need for self-isolation.

The new 'air-bridge' was possible because the governments said the islands had "very similar measures in place for border controls from other locations, and robust testing and contact tracing capabilities". There hasn't been a new case of Coronavirus COVID-19 for "several weeks", and both currently have a 14-day self-isolation period for new arrivals, although Guernsey is due to trial a scheme next month which will allow people out after one week if they test negative.

The new flights will be operated by Guernsey State-owned airline Aurigny, starting in July for an initial six week trial period. 

Chief Minister of Guernsey Gavin St Pier said it would offer people from both territories "a chance to get away this summer without the need to self-isolate".

Isle of Man Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the agreement was a "major milestone" and reflected "how well both communities have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic".

Aurigny, it has been revealed today cost the Guernsey taxpayers almost £10 million last year, nearly £2m more than anticipated.  The carrier racked up £9.7 million in losses during the year, blaming erratic market conditions created by deregulating the market and States subsidies for competitors.

Gavin St Pier, t acknowledged the open skies policy had "changed" the marketplace in 2019, "There are some very real challenges about the size of our market and therefore the role of competition." he said.  The airline was, he said, a "strategic asset" but given the "substantial cost" to taxpayers, this needed to be reassessed.

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