14 thoughts on “Open Letter to Flybe and Blue Islands

  1. Tony Luscomb

    How since the Blue Islands franchise, have Flybe been able to stop direct flights to southampton, also we no longer able to book flights interisland using Flybe triangular flignts.
    Although Blue Islands claim to be independent we have no staff at Guernsey Airport and all contact is via Flybe, all we have is in truth is Flybe and no independent Blue Islands

    Reply
    1. CICRA Post author

      CICRA is responsible for administering and enforcing competition law in the Channel Islands with the aim of ensuring markets work well for consumers. That’s why we’ve challenged Flybe/Blue Islands to demonstrate the net benefit to users following the agreement to provide joint services to and from the Channel Islands.
      We believe Channel Islanders and those visiting from elsewhere deserve better, value for money services. While there is particular focus on the inter-island service the letter also requests details across all routes within this agreement including to and from Southampton.
      Regulation of air routes is the responsibility of the governments of the individual islands rather than CICRA and different approaches to air route licensing are applied.

      Reply
      1. Alvin James Furrer

        Is there not some form of double standards being applied here ?

        Why did CICRA not complain or prevent the agreement between BI and Flybe BEFORE it took place ??

        Why did CICRA allow the somewhat short lived Aurigny – BI agreement to proceed ??

        Why does CICRA not act against the monopoly on the GCI-LGW route ??

        Or, for that matter, on the Guernsey-Alderney and / or Alderney / Southampton routes ??

        The fault lies not with Flybe or BI and they should not face the brunt of criticism… the fault lies with the States of Guernsey and its very own airline !!!

        Reply
  2. Nick Saul

    I am a regular user of the Guernsey to Southampton air route and my company has an office on the South Coast.

    Since the merger, we have had a reduced service, fewer flights, the loss of the benefits of the independent Blue Islands service, Free seating, free changes of tickets, use of lounge facilities and the abandonment of the frequent flyer points. In addition as a FlyBe credit card holder, when I earn points through spending on the card, I am excluded from using those points I have earned on FlyBe flights operated by Blue Islands.

    12 months ago, typically I would pay around £110 for a day return flight booked a week in advance. If flying with Blue Islands I would get a free drink and a paper. I have flown one day a week for the last two weeks, booking a week in advance. The first week my flight cost was £202 return and last week £178 return, no drink, no lounge, no paper, no chance to change my booking and last week they delayed my flight by 2 hours as they did not have a serviceable aircraft.

    Really what benefits has the public seen

    Reply
    1. CICRA Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Nick; it’s important that consumers have their voices heard. While our open letter focused particular attention on the inter-island route, we’ve challenged Flybe/Blue Islands to demonstrate the net benefit of its franchise arrangement to its customers across all routes (including Southampton). We’ve yet to receive a response to our letter, but we will publish it once as soon as we do.

      Reply
  3. John young

    I have travelled between jersey and guernsey almost every week by blue islands for the last fifteen months . Since the June franchiese agreement with flybe the effects have been very damaging to the consumer . It caused Aurigny codeshare with Blue Islands to end . Even though Aurigny still have the route licence this government controlled airline refuses to operate it to prevent guernsey people accessing jerseys excellent net work and undermine their own Gatwick route .The code share provided through fares from Jersey to Alderney .It allowed blue islands fares have been increased well above inflation. Twelve months ago i was paying around 180 pounds Jy -Ay now 250 pounds. The flybe customer service is non existent .There is nobody to deal with booking changes problems at Guernsey or jersey and aurigny staff can only refer you to a UK premium rate phone number . Calls can take half an hour to change a flight . The refund policy is penal of event of delays in connecting flight meaning missed check in. Customer lounges have gone. The whole problem of inter island flights needs sorting out .please have a read of my article in Rural Jersey country life autumn 2016 . Copy can be read on my website johnhyoung.com

    Reply
    1. CICRA Post author

      Comments on this issue are always welcome John. It’s because we are aware of concerns expressed from various sources that we took the decision to publish this open letter and challenge Flybe/Blue Islands to demonstrate they are delivering against the benefits the arrangement was intended to bring when the agreement was announced on 10 March 2016. We will publish their response to the letter when it is received.

      Reply
  4. Alvin James Furrer

    With all due respect, the open letter was flawed and the wrong way to proceed.

    It makes reference to the CAA statistics for delayed flights during March 2016 which was before the Flybe-BI agreement started. It makes reference to problems in through fare ticketing, but, overall, it overlooks the new through fare ticketing opportunities on many routes allowing much better connectivity from Guernsey. It mentions the lack of no-luggage fares but ignores the fact that that is the norm for flights to and from Guernsey as Aurigny do not operate that concept. The open letter totally ignores the fact that Aurigny withdrew from the Jersey route and that that airline has monopolies on some of its own routes !!

    It seems that the letter was drafted from a Jersey perspective and I can not help wondering whether it was written because someone in CICRA has some sort of personal issue against Flybe and / or BI !!

    Reply
    1. CICRA

      Thanks for reading and responding to our blog Alvin

      CICRA’s aim is to make markets work better for local consumers. Strong reliable air links are vital to the Channel Islands, not least as an enabler of economic growth. Based on the concerns expressed to us, from a number of sources, we felt it was important to challenge Flybe /Blue Islands to demonstrate how they are delivering on their promise that their arrangement is beneficial to local consumers. We have not yet had the time to fully consider the responses received from Flybe / Blue Islands and decide upon the next steps that we should take – this will be done carefully before deciding on our next course of action but one option open to us is to call the arrangement in for review in Jersey.

      [Air route licensing is specifically excluded from competition law in Guernsey so you are right that the letter was drafted from a Jersey perspective].

      Reply
      1. Alvin James Furrer

        Even considering the fact that the GCRA are powerless to act with regards to Guernsey’s air-licensing, why was action not taken by JCRA when the Aurigny – BI code-share was announced ? That reduced the number of flights, capacity, etc on the Jersey-Guernsey route to a single carrier.

        Furthermore, Aurigny still had a license to operate on that route but they pulled out – hardly the fault of BI or Flybe or their franchise agreement. If Easyjet suddenly pulled out from the LGW-JER route, then it is hardly the fault of BA, now is it ?

        Reply
        1. CICRA

          Thanks for engaging Alvin. It’s important to recognise that the most appropriate counterfactual is not always the status quo. Regardless of route or number of carriers Channel Islanders deserve to receive value for money and a decent quality of service.

          Reply
  5. Alvin James Furrer

    Will you be publishing on this website the replies of Mr Veron and Mr Hodder ?

    Reply
    1. CICRA

      We received Flybe’s response on 30 September and Blue Island’s response on 4 October. As such we have not yet had time to fully consider the responses but we are publishing the responses now as we undertook to do when issuing our open letter read here. The level of interest that our open letter has generated confirms just how important strong reliable air links are to the Channel Islands. We will be considering our next steps particularly carefully and have not ruled out taking formal steps under Jersey’s competition law should that be the best course of action. In the meantime we will continue to engage with Blue Islands and Flybe and other stakeholders with a view to ensuring that the market works better for local consumers.

      Reply
  6. John young

    I am astonished that Blue Islands are still claiming that their cartel with Flybe restricting flights from Jersey to Guernsey and via versa and controlling prices , is to the benefit of passengers . From my point of view traveling weekly between jersey and Alderney , via Guernsey this is simply not true. The fare has increased way above inflation , from 39 /42 to 63/65 single ( I have to travel at peak times ) there is no through booking as with the aurigny code share on te route which had to be ended when the Flybe deal was done. Personal service is gone , flexibility of flight changes gone with the Flybe website which is unfriendly , transfers of flight with delayed connections have to be phoned to a UK premium phone within one hour or the fare is lost, a line which can take quarter of hour to be answered .I am not benefiting from flybe wider network this only applies to Guernsey customers .For the Jersey customer this Flybe BI deal is damaging . It also further damages the already very unsatisfactory service to Alderney as it has effectively cut off This Island from Jersey visitors
    John young

    Reply

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