Off of the coast of Normandy, France is a small cluster of islands known as the Channel Islands. The second-largest island, Guernsey, has an airline with five aircraft. This airline is named Aurigny Air Services.
Surrounded by sea, there are only two main ways to reach the island of Guernsey; by boat or by aircraft. While ferry operators have the first option covered, Aurigny is the flag carrier of Guernsey, taking care of some of the air travel. The airline, founded originally in 1964 as Glos Air, was nationalized in 2003 and is now wholly owned by the state of Guernsey.
Aurigny currently operates with a fleet of five aircraft, according to Planespotters, however, more are on order by the island carrier. The airline’s main workhorse is the ATR family of aircraft. In fact, the airline currently has four ATR 42 and 72 aircraft in operation; one 42 and three 72s. The airline has three more ATR 72s on order.
Additionally, the airline has a single Embraer 195 in operation. Previously the airline operated a Britten Norman Islander aircraft, however, this retired a year or two ago.
Aurigny operates a variety of routes from its home airport on Guernsey. With the exception of a seasonal route to Grenoble in France, all of the airline’s destinations are within the British Isles. That is not to say that all of the routes are within the United Kingdom, given the status of Guernsey.
London is a key focus for the airline, with services operating to both London Stansted and London Gatwick. However, the airline also serves a number of other U.K. cities including the likes of Bristol, Norwich, Manchester, and Southampton to name a few.
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A brief history
Aurigny was founded in back in 1964, and originally served a route between Guernsey and a smaller channel island named Alderney. This was commenced after British United Airways withdrew from the route.
The airline proved an instant hit. In fact, in its first year of operation, 45,000 passengers were carried by the airline. To put this into perspective, Ryanair carried 82,000 passengers in its first year of operations.
An interesting point about Aurigny is that it was the first airline to ban smoking from all of its aircraft. This change took place in 1977 and presumably was fairly unpopular with some passengers of that era.
Have you flown on Aurigny? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.