Slots at London Heathrow are so precious that the Channel Islands have not had a link to London’s main airport for many years.
In the case of Guernsey the last direct link to Heathrow was 20 years ago.
It means that Islanders wishing to make connections via London must (in the vast majority of cases) fly into the capital’s other airports and proceed to Heathrow by surface transport.
However some good news was announced today.
From March 31 Islanders will have their Heathrow link restored.
Flights will be operated by Flybe itself and not by one of its franchise partners.
Flybe will deploy a 78-seat Dash-8 turbo-prop for this one daily flight. Timings are:
- Guernsey-London Heathrow departs 1440, arrives 1545
- London Heathrow-Guernsey departs 1720, arrives 1825
Yes it is true that the timings will not suit everyone.
But provided you are prepared to wait a few hours between flights there are opportunities for both short- and long-haul connections.
As aviation analysts would say “It’s better to have some connections at Heathrow rather than none at all”.
Obtaining a slot at Heathrow is a murky business as we have explained on numerous occasions before.
Although there is no official confirmation it is understood that the slot pair in question was previously used by Larnaca-based Cobalt Air which failed in 2018.
I have checked Cobalt Air’s schedules (when it last operated at Heathrow) and found that the arrival and departure times are identical (to those of Flybe).
However not everything in the garden is rosy. This slot pair is available only for the summer season.
Therefore this Guernsey-Heathrow link will cease after October 26 unless a way can be found to maintain the service.
Guernsey is determined to make this new route a success. It has now emerged that the authorities will subsidise the Heathrow route. It will receive £825,000 in funding over seven months.
The news follows last month’s announcement by Channel Islands carrier Blue Islands, of new routes from Guernsey to London Southend and Liverpool.