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Committee for Economic Development proposes a significant step towards open skies

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Monday 11 June 2018

The Committee for Economic Development is proposing a new air transport licensing policy framework that will be a significant step towards 'open skies' for Guernsey.

The new framework, set out in a policy letter for consideration by the States Assembly at its meeting in July, will provide a much clearer and simpler policy framework, which is intended to be the basis of introducing greater competition and new air routes.

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, Vice-President of the Committee for Economic Development said:

"The proposed framework is built to achieve two strategic objectives. We are aiming to secure improved services for travellers to and from the Island, and to introduce new routes to and from Guernsey. In order to do that we need an air transport licensing regime that supports an 'open skies' approach on all but our two proposed 'lifeline routes'.

"The Committee is continuing to work on new route development, and on the public service obligations that would be needed to support the proposed lifeline routes. The policy letter sets out the licensing framework within which that work will be done.

"We are confident as a Committee that it balances the need to set out a clear approach with the requirement to ensure we have as much flexibility as possible in order to achieve those objectives."

The two lifeline routes proposed by the Committee are Guernsey to London Gatwick and Guernsey to Alderney. These are routes that are deemed economically and socially essential. Operators and charterers will continue to require a Guernsey air transport licence in order to provide flights on these specific routes. Operators or charterers serving all routes apart from lifeline routes will be exempt from the need to hold a Guernsey air transport licence.

The Committee for Economic Development will work to establish a public service obligation - along with any necessary funding arrangement - for air services on the proposed lifeline routes, and it will continue to provide air route development support for other new routes that can be established.

While the Alderney-Southampton route is not subject to Guernsey air transport licensing - and therefore outside of the scope of the policy letter - it may be considered for a public service obligation in combination with the Guernsey-Alderney route, should such a combined approach be possible following the tender process, and subject to agreement between the States of Guernsey and the States of Alderney as to the source of funding for this route.

The Committee is committing to report back to the States by 2023 on the policy framework, in order to ensure that it is delivering the Island's economic and social objectives.

Deputy Joe Mooney, who is a member of the Committee for Economic Development who does not support the propositions in the policy letter, said:

"While I am supportive of the Committee's move towards an open skies approach, I would like to see that put in place straight away, across all routes. My view is that we should introduce full competition on all routes, including those deemed to be lifeline routes. While I believe that is where we will end up, I'd like us to get there faster than we are doing at the moment."

The policy letter has included a period of consultation with operators, the Guernsey International Business Association and a number of different Committees of the States of Guernsey, as well as the States of Alderney.

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