THE SOUTHAMPTON ROUTE
Following on from our question to members about the importance of our direct Southampton sector, the response was greater than we could have hoped for – and it was 98% for keeping the route.
The letter below has been sent to all States Members and is being forwarded to the relevant Guernsey committees.
All Alderney States Members 5th September 2019
While we await the results of the PSO, we have lobbied our membership requesting their views as to the importance of our Alderney / Southampton sector.
Our business community stands as one in urgently stressing the critical need to keep its direct air route into Southampton that it has enjoyed since Aurigny’s inception in 1967.
A round robin question to our members resulted in more than 70 replies within just the first few days. The simplistic question was “What would be the impact on your business if Alderney were to lose its direct Southampton route – and how would you see the future?”
We are aware that almost half of all passengers travelling to and from Alderney by air use the direct link to Southampton. Without this link we would see our economy decline resulting in even greater financial reliance from Guernsey. A reliable and sustainable route directly into Southampton will help feed, sustain and expand our economy – to the benefit of all within the Bailiwick.
It is interesting to recall Guernsey’s Policy & Resources policy letter of 2014 to the States of Guernsey confirming that the air links to Guernsey and Southampton were “essential to Alderney” – and more recently in 2017, the current President of P&R, Deputy Gavin St Pier commented on their “commitment to support Alderney’s lifeline air routes”
Chamber is united in confirming the absolute need for this route to be maintained not only for commercial needs but also for other critical requirements such as medical and tourism.
The comments below are symptomatic of current feeling and the response we have received –
“We can compare it to Guernsey losing its direct Gatwick and Heathrow connections. Would Guernsey allow it? No.
“The loss of this route would be extremely disruptive to our work and would lead us to consider relocating our business.”
“The viability of our business model depends critically on the ability to travel quickly and easily between Alderney and the UK. Without direct flights to the UK, our business would not be viable on the island and we would look elsewhere.”
“If lost, a day trip to the UK would entail four flights if we had to fly via Guernsey. This would have a serious negative impact on business meetings.”
“If there were no direct Southampton link, I believe our clients would be less keen to travel here which has consequences for us running our business.”
“The loss of a direct Southampton flight from Alderney would be catastrophic to our business and that of all hospitality establishments on the island.”
The above examples are absolutely representative of the replies we have been inundated with.
Social media also picked up on our question with the exact same sentiments – as we have seen with local discussion groups.
The Alderney Chamber is positive as to the future, there is more vibrancy within the island and the population is increasing.
For this to continue it remains absolutely critical for our direct Southampton sector to remain and indeed be able to expand as our future unfolds.
We look forward to receiving your comments and would urge that this remains the island’s paramount priority at this time.
On behalf of the Chamber Transport Group