Sport Demands Better Inter-Islands Links
13th September 2017
Inter-islands sport is suffering because of unreliable, expensive or inconvenient travel between Jersey and Guernsey.
Calls have been repeated for politicians and the operators of local air and sea links to address the problems faced by clubs and associations.
It comes after a team of 40 Jersey softballers were delayed by four hours last weekend for a tournament in Guernsey when their plane was diverted to be used on another route.
Coach Phil Bouchard has been speaking to Channel 103:
“We were pretty upset that we were the ones suffering at the hands of the airline when we had fixtures and important inter-islands sport that had been booked and on the calendar for at least a couple of months in advance.
We only have really one choice – through a franchise partner – to fly to the island.
We only have one choice to sail between the islands.
Ferry crossings are not necessarily as reliable as flights because of the weather – as we are seeing today.
And also, timetables are not in favour of teams.”
Hugh Raymond is the Chairman of the Jersey Sports Council
The Jersey Sports Council says politicians and travel companies aren’t delivering on their promises to to address concerns about inter-islands transport links.
It is calling for urgent talks, followed by action to improve the situation.
Hugh Raymond says several teams are beginning to favour competition in the UK over Guernsey because it can work out cheaper and easier to get there, than to go the 27 miles to our Channel Island neighbours.
“Surely it is time to get this sorted or we are afraid that sports will not be looking to play each other across the islands.
This will be very sad indeed as for most sports players this may be the only time they have to experience playing other teams off-island.”
Blue Islands has issued the following response:
“Blue Islands is proud of a 91% on time performance for its inter-island services this year.
We operated 10 inter-island flights on Saturday eight of which departed on time, however we apologise for delays to two of the inter-island flights, due to a technical issue.
Blue Islands works hard to accommodate the sporting community and continuously calls for fixture co-ordination between sports and the islands.
In fact there were additional inter-island charter flights on Saturday evening.
Through better co-ordination, we believe it is possible to achieve planned fixture weekends that generate the required passenger numbers in both directions to make extra capacity, additional services or even dedicated charter flights viable and feasible for all concerned.
The relevant sporting bodies in the islands are aware of this.
Blue Islands has upgraded two of its 46-seat ATR 42 aircraft to 68-seat ATR 72 aircraft, taking our fleet to a total of three ATR 72s and two ATR 42s.
This provides far greater flexibility to add extra capacity for specific events where viable.”