Charter flights boost Guernsey’s tourist economy

Blue Islands operated over 30 charter flights from Groningen and Rotterdam between May and mid-September this summer, welcoming 1,400 European tourists for week-long stays in Guernsey.

Working with its tour operator partners, Blue Islands was selected to operate flights for the eight-week Groningen Airport Eelde – Guernsey programme. With services at 85% full, this activity brought over 500 tourists to Guernsey for a week’s stay between April and mid-June.

The airline’s Rotterdam – Guernsey charter service ran for 22 weeks, finishing mid September. The 68-seat ATR operated at 80% capacity, bringing 825 tourists to the island.

Rob Veron, CEO Blue Islands commented: “Repeating our Dutch activity for 2019 highlights the importance of specialist tour operators such as Sunair identifying niche markets for growth opportunities, as we seek to perform a vital role in the regeneration of tourism.

“Our business development strategy is focussed on developing new routes and supporting the local economy to ensure Blue Islands is well optimised, commercially viable, sustainable and importantly, a ‘local’ operation focussed on providing the best value services for islanders and visitors alike.”

Marc Van Amsterdam, Managing Director Sunair, Blue Islands’ Dutch tour operator partner, said, “Key to the success of this operation is a locally based operator that is able to efficiently facilitate direct services to Guernsey, reliably, without the added costs of positioning flights.”

Mike Hopkins, Director of Marketing & Tourism, VisitGuernsey said, “We are extremely pleased with the success of the first Groningen charter. My trade team have been working with Sunair, our Dutch tour operator partner, for the last 12 months looking at the opportunity to increase the number of charter operations from Holland.

“We are really pleased that Blue Islands was able to provide the charter operation to support Sunair’s new service from Groningen, in addition to the Rotterdam route, and has provided such a fabulous service for our Dutch visitors during the season.”

Niek Van Zutphen, owner of Le Chene Hotel where many of the Dutch tourists stayed agreed that it was an excellent service. He said: “The Groningen people, like our Rotterdam visitors, absolutely love this destination and flying direct from Groningen is very convenient. Some of our visitors even cycled to Groningen Airport; to be in Guernsey just 1.5 hours later is brilliant.”