19th February 1968

Aurigny Air Services founded

Aurigny Trislander G-JOEY

When British United Airways dropped its Alderney to Guernsey service, some were worried that Alderney was being cut off.

The solution was simple: set up a rival. Alderney resident Sir Derrick Bailey did just that, and founded his own airline. He called it Aurigny, a name drawn from the Norman word for Alderney.

Aurigny flew its first fee-paying passengers on 1 March the same year and, over the next 12 months, carried 45,000 people between the islands.

Soon, it branched out to other destinations. The UK mainland was an obvious first stop, and France followed. Still serving these – and more – it has remained a vital part of everyday life within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Indeed, it’s so important to commerce and tourism that when it later looked like it might be under threat, the States of Guernsey bought it.

Guernsey’s growing airline

It launched with Britten Norman Islander aircraft, but switched to the larger Trislander model in the early 1970s. Bailey himself had specced these up with the needs of the islands in mind. They proved so successful that Aurigny kept them in service until 2015, eventually operating the world’s largest fleet.

Although the livery has changed over the years, Aurigny planes have always had a distinctive yellow and white paintwork. Bailey’s father had kept racing horses, and his riders always wore yellow and white.

A forward-thinking airline

In 1977, Aurigny was the world’s first airline to ban smoking on its services and, in 1999, expanded its route map, becoming a regional player. In that year, looked beyond the Channel Islands, United Kingdom and France, as it rolled out flights to Amsterdam.

Aurigny was nationalised in 2003, following. British Airways’ decision to drop its route between Guernsey and London Gatwick. Recognising the link’s importance to life on the island, the States of Guernsey bought the airline to secure the service.

Despite its roots in Alderney, its slogan is now Guernsey’s Airline.

Aurigny G-COBO

 

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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th