March 8, 2018:
Guernsey-based operator Waves has completed its first European flight by carrying French dignitaries from Caen in Normandy to Guernsey. Heading up the French contingent was Marc Lefevre, newly-elected president of the Manche region. As reported in EBAN last month, Waves has been granted third country operator approval by EASA, enabling commercial flights into the UK and Europe.
“The flight went incredibly smoothly,” director of aviation Matt Bisson tells EBAN. “We found the French systems very easy to use. The system to gain approval is very intuitive and the response time was quick. Added to this, Caen airport was very receptive, making it a seamless experience.
“Operating into the UK is one of our objectives, but our current Grand Caravan 208 aircraft is better utilised on shorter routes of up to one hour. That flight time affords access to a number of French airports that are not presently connected with Guernsey. We are thrilled to be making these airports available, especially at such an interesting time with Brexit coming up.”
Waves aims to create awareness among the Channel Island population of the opportunities presented by airfields such as Caen, with its onward connections to Mediterranean destinations. “At the moment, when Channel Islanders fly overseas, they mostly take connecting flights via Gatwick,” Bisson explains. “There is a mindset that to go on holiday you have to go to Gatwick first, at a cost of up to £800 a family, and that represents a lot of charter hours to us.
“People will save time and money, as well as the cost of an overnight stay and the hassle of longer security queues in busy commercial terminals, by flying with Waves. We look forward to rolling the service out to mainland UK later this year.”
Historically, Guernsey has been well connected to Dinard and Cherbourg, which was convenient for locals owning French holiday homes. Scheduled operations have dwindled to those destinations in recent years, with travellers now having to rely on a ferry service.
Bisson continues: “We offer flights to Cherbourg and Granville in Normandy and Dinard, Lannion, St Brieuc, Brest, Nantes and Rennes in Brittany. We are opening up the whole of this stunning part of France to islanders. We can fly our customers to Brittany's bustling capital Rennes with its galleries, markets and train connections to Paris, or to Brest, an important maritime city.”