I made this speech when the States debated an amendment by Deputies Mc Swiggan and Dorey to halt air route subsidies proposed in the budget.
Sir, I think the recent review by Nyras is all the proof that is needed that an air link strategy, governance framework, whatever you call it is needed.
Whether or not Aurigny is run well at an operational level, it was obvious from reading that report that an air links strategy is essential. Indeed it supports what many of us have been saying for quite a while now.
Economic Development subsidise non-States airlines to fly certain routes, which must have had at least some impact on the Gatwick route and then Aurigny launch a service to Southampton undercutting another airline and increasing its losses as a result, despite the fact it is directed to break-even.
Now Deputy Parkinson said how Health & Social Care don’t just use the services of the hospital. Well no we don’t but neither do we pay for services that are not needed. At the moment we are subsidising routes with empty seats.
Indeed, according to the report, there has been a 35% increase in capacity in London & SE England, but no commensurate increase in numbers travelling. As Nyras say,
‘extra capacity has delivered more passengers across routes so the growth has to date been inefficient on what is marginal activity at best.’
Then there’s a requete about a longer runway – I’m not going there. And, as Deputy Ferbrache just reminded us we have a PSO still dragging out.
It’s a right mess as far as I can see but what is obvious is that there needs to be a coordinated approach to air links.
It’s a shame we need a proposition to this budget to make it happen but I am grateful P&R have included it and will support proposition 38.
But I am in two minds about this amendment. I am very tempted to support it as I think the position we are in is quite frankly ridiculous but at the same time understand that we are where we are now. By cutting off the funding before we have agreed what the policy is does seem to be cart before the horse. I’m therefore not going to support it but I do have a lot of sympathy for why it was laid.