14th February 2006

Blue Islands takes to the skies

Blue Islands aircraft coming in to land

Blue Islands officially came into existence on Valentines Day 2006. Before that, the airline had operated under various names, including Rockhopper and Le Cocq’s Airlink. Like Aurigny, it was founded in Alderney, but is now headquartered on Guernsey.

Although it operates as a FlyBe franchise, Blue Islands is owned by Healthspan, a Guernsey-based supplements and leisure company. Chaired by Guernsey-resident Derek Coates, Healthspan also owns Vista Hotels Group, which operates hotels on both Guernsey and Alderney.

Blue Islands grew quickly, and gained a significant share of the inter-island market. Its passengers on the Guernsey to Jersey route accounted for almost 70% of all journeys between them by 2009. This was in spite of the continued competition from established rival, Aurigny.

Indeed, Blue Islands was so successful that it was able to mount a bid to buy Aurigny from the States of Guernsey. There was a great amount of discussion at government level about the benefits (or not) of the move but it eventually fell through in September 2014.

Trislander fleet

Blue Islands operated three Trislanders between 2001 and 2011. These were the same models as Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey had specified for his own airline.

It also flew four Islander planes until 2011. These were the original aircraft on which the Trislander was based. There are now no Trislanders or Islanders plying Guernsey’s skies.

Blue Islands and FlyBe

Blue Islands’ distinctive gold and blue livery disappeared from its planes in mid-2016 when it signed a franchise deal with FlyBe. The aircraft now carry FlyBe’s distinctive purple colours.

At the time of writing, FlyBe operates five aircraft between eight destinations, carrying up to 68 passengers per flight. Zurich and Geneva mark the most distant points on its network, which also includes Jersey, Cardiff and Southampton.

 

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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