Where does Blue Islands fly?

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Regional airline Blue Islands has announced a major expansion, starting with Southampton and Exeter.

The collapse of Flybe earlier this year has led to expansion opportunities for the other small UK airlines – Loganair, Eastern and Blue Islands.

Whilst a handful of Flybe routes may be big enough for Ryanair and easyJet to operate, the vast majority are not economic unless you are using small turboprop aircraft.  Loganair, Eastern and Blue Islands are best placed to pick up this slack.

Eastern and Blue Islands were previously Flybe franchisees so it was relatively easy – once they had launched their own booking sites – to restart the routes they used to run.  They are now adding new routes which Flybe used to fly directly.

Blue Islands has been flying since 1999 under various brands although it has used Blue Islands since 2006.  It has 130 staff based across Jersey and Guernsey.

Last week the Government of Jersey announced a £10 million soft loan to Blue Islands.  The collapse of Flybe has exposed the risks of losing air connectivity and it intends to build up Blue Islands as a ‘national champion’.

Blue Islands airline launches new Southampton routes

Jersey is a small market, of course, so Blue Islands also intends to launch additional hubs.   The first is Southampton, where one 70-seat ATR72 will be permanently based.

From 31st August, it will fly:

Southampton – Jersey (daily, rising to double daily)

Southampton – Manchester (daily)

Southampton – Dublin (daily)

Southampton – Guernsey (double daily)

There will also be additional Jersey routes:

Bristol – Jersey (4x weekly from 3rd August, daily from September)

Exteter – Jersey (3 x weekly from 3rd September)

Birmingham – Jersey (4x weekly from 31st August)

East Midlands – Jersey (3x weekly from 29th September)

Exeter to Manchester will also launch on 31st August.

The airline has launched a new livery.  Here is the Flybe franchised version:

Blue Islands airline launches new Southampton routes

and here is the new independent livery:

Blue Islands airline launches new Southampton routes

The new Blue Islands website is here. At some point I will take a look at their new frequent flyer scheme, the Blue Skies Club.

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  1. I was quite impressed with Blue Islands when I flew them a few years ago SOU-GCI return. Fast track security for every passenger (although with the demise of BE at SOU this probably isn’t important anymore). They also had their own ‘lounge’ airside at GCI which was a nice touch. Effectively a glassed in pen in departures accessed by an entry code printed on your boarding pass. It wasn’t manned but featured dedicated seating for Blue Islands passengers as well as complimentary tea, coffee and water – more than Aurigny and FlyBE passengers got. On board service featured complimentary soft drinks on a 45 minute flight. At £60 return it made for a really pleasant day trip.

    • memesweeper says:

      I also flew them once on this route, but with a much older Jetstream aircraft, and decided to avoid them in future.

      They are now ‘all ATR’, which is a substantial step up from that, and I hope a step up from the dash-8s Flybe were using.

      • Dwb1873 says:

        Very old ATRs – they’re a bit clapped out to be honest.

      • Dubious says:

        Dash-8Qs should be quiter than the ATR-72s.
        The Dash-8Qs also have front and rear embarcation/disembarkation, unlike the ATRs which only have a door at the rear.

        Dash-8s fly faster and higher, ATR-72s lower and slower but with a better fuel performance.

  2. The MAN SOU route timings are poor given that is largely a commuter route…lunchtime each way ..

    • Andrew says:

      I suspect that the GoJ funding will ensure that priority is given key peak diagrams.

      CI residents attend out and in patient appointments at Southampton University Hospital (paid for by the respective CI Governments), so peak morning arrivals are essential.

      If they can fill a plane off peak to help relieve Cross Country’s usual heavily loaded 4+ hour journey between Manchester and Southampton, then that’s a good thing.

  3. Lady London says:

    Wouldn’t it be great to be a pilot on those little aircraft on those routes?

    • Not once you find out that Blue Islands are the lowest paying airline in the U.K.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        Offset by a lower rate of income tax if you’re resident on the islands though?

        • Dwb1873 says:

          Very high cost of living though which often cancels out the tax benefits for ‘normal’ earners.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Absolutely- and much better paid than a flying instructor. ( ie me!)

      And better paid in the future than BA 747 pilots, or many Emirates ones, or 20% of United’s, or Thomas Cook or Flybe.

      Only better job would be Loganair or the air ambulance here in Scotland – much better scenery and more “interesting” weather 🙂

      • Lady London says:

        Yes I was thinking as a pilot on those you’d be earning your money, in bad weather. So not the BA bus driver kind of ride.

        And lots over water which as a passenger, means I’m a basket case. But would keep the day interesting for the pilot 🙂

  4. The SOU-DUB route appears to be 4x week – Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

    These flights aren’t yet showing up on Skyscanner

  5. John Murray says:

    Booked a few days in Jersey from EMA in October. I always enjoy a turboprop flight (yes, I even liked the Flybe Dash 8s..) as long as it’s no more than an hour or so! 😁

  6. Fenny says:

    Birmingham to Jersey – finally a route that works for me 🙂

  7. Alex M says:

    I wonder how much it costs to repaint an aircraft? I would think the price is substantial for a small airline…

  8. No, no Cardiff base. Might be a better one for Loganair.

  9. Interesting that they’re going to compete with Eastern on Manchester To Southampton.

  10. Lady London says:

    Blue Islands, Loganair and Eastern (and even KLM) …. this is where the government needs to put the money from re-assigning a fair % slots held by BA at Heathrow.

    Starting with public interest slots BA got when they took over BMI, and stopped running a number of routes but kept the slots. Then a general review of how slots are, and should be, assigned at LHR against support the UK commercially criteria, with a %, or revenue from them. to be allocated to airlines who do good works. Such as running niche regional support routes such as Loganair, Eastern, Blue Island and KLM.

    Too many regional airlines failed over the years so let:s funnell off money from the jewel routes to support providers who serve the regions or fulfil other criteria where a level of commercial support will make the difference.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Hard to disagree with any of that.

      The current system allows for all icing, no cake.

  11. Sorry I am a realist! says:

    For airlines and airports, it makes no commercial sense to have 40 pax from GCI/JER rather than 400 pax from NYC. As Jersey/Guernsey are technically not part of UK (they are Bailliwicks) the case for access on social grounds does not exist. Only cities such as Inverness might argue they need access to a London airport on social grounds, but not if independence occurs.

    Take slots from BA and you destroy the hub, with out the hub, London and the UK loses routes as has been the case with destinations in China for instance.

    Let the market decide.

    And no I am not a BA employee!

    • Lady London says:

      I take your point @Sorry I am a… However regional routes cut both ways. Regardless of the technicalities there are some territories that have historical and commercial links to fhe UK, where transport is needed but not strictly viable commercially.

      In these I’d consider such as the Isle of Man, Sark, Guernsey, Jersey, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, and anywhere on the East Coast (Scotland jncluded). Plus quite a few other regional routes where airlines have failed over the years and anywhere Loganajr flies :-). One end of the route may need it more than the i
      other but that’s the point of regional support.

      A review of slot allocation at LHR is overdue. Particularly the preponderance of slots held by BA. It may be that allocating BA/IAG even more slots than they have now, would be found to serve the UK’s needs better. But BA has many slots due to.historical privilege that they themselves have said is not dominant, against commercial consideration. So let’s do a review and look at where slots are best allocated to guve the UK a return that supports.continued provision of regional routes, and other UK aims.

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