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Jersey-based airline Blue Islands launches Blue Skies Club, its own frequent flyer scheme

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Jersey based regional airline Blue Islands has launched its own frequent flyer programme, Blue Skies Club.

With Blue Islands announcing a major expansion, starting with Southampton and Exeter, I thought we should take a look.  I met with Blue Islands when I was in Jersey last month.  It was great to talk to an airline executive who is actually positive about the future and looking at strong growth!

Blue Islands airline launches new Southampton routes

Where does Blue Islands fly to?

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

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.

The Government of Jersey recently 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’.

The first new hub is Southampton, where one 70-seat ATR72 will be permanently based.

Blue Islands launches Southampton flights

Flights to Jersey have already launched. From 31st August, it will add:

Southampton – Manchester (daily)

Southampton – Dublin (daily)

Southampton – Guernsey (double daily)

There will also be additional Jersey routes:

Bristol – Jersey (4x weekly, already launched, daily from September)

Exteter – Jersey (3 x weekly from 1st 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 Jersey to Guernsey shuttle service is due to restart on 1st September when Guernsey lifts restrictions.  At present there is only one flight per week and only pre-registered business travellers who return the same day are allowed.

Blue Islands has also announced a codeshare deal with Loganair.  This has genuine benefits to passengers, because it allows connecting journeys whilst only paying one lot of Air Passenger Duty.  Without the codeshare deal and single ticketing, flying Exeter to Manchester (Blue Islands) to Inverness (Loganair) would attract two APD charges in each direction.

The codeshare covers:

Flights with Blue Islands from Exeter and Southampton to Manchester meeting Loganair flights at Manchester to Aberdeen, Inverness and Isle of Man

Flights with Loganair from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle to Southampton meeting Blue Islands flights to Guernsey and Jersey

Blue Islands flights from Jersey to Birmingham and Bristol meeting Loganair flights from those airports to Aberdeen

Blue Skies Club

How does Blue Skies Club work?

With a small route network, Blue Islands has sensibly decided on an easy to understand and easy to manage model for its frequent flyer scheme.

You will need to take between 10 and 20 one-way flights in order to earn a one-way reward flight.

All reward flights require a £20 contribution towards taxes and charges.

Here are the two ticket types and the points earned:

Blue Fly:

  • 10kg cabin baggage
  • 23kg hold luggage allowance
  • 250 Blue Skies Points

Blue Plus:

  • 10kg cabin baggage
  • 2 x 23kg hold luggage allowance
  • 500 Blue Skies Points
  • Selected seat included
  • Changeable ticket
  • Missed flight protection
  • ‘Get Home Early’

Codeshare flights do not earn points.

Children cannot join Blue Skies Club.  There is a minimum age of 18 years.

There are no elite tiers or status benefits.

How to redeem Blue Skies Club points

The redemption chart is very simple.  All flights, on all routes, cost 5,000 Blue Skies Points for a one-way ticket.  

Reward flights are booked as Blue Plus tickets, which is a nice touch.  This means that you will get the additional baggage allowance and other benefits.

Reward flights cannot be cancelled but the date, time and route can be amended.  No name changes are allowed.

The terms and conditions do not, as far as I can tell, specifically say that you can book a reward ticket for anyone you like.  They don’t say that you can’t, however!

Points expire after 36 months, and activity does not keep them alive.  This means that you will need to average a flight with Blue Islands every few months in order to earn 5,000 points before your oldest points start to expire.

Conclusion

Blue Skies Club is clearly not going to set the world alight.  With no transfer partners, it is also not going to be of interest to anyone except regular Blue Islands flyers.

The upside is that the Blue Skies Club is easy to understand and will get you the occasional free (well, £20 of taxes) ticket if you need to travel with them on a regular basis.

You can find out more, and sign up, on the Blue Islands website here.

Comments (17)

  • Dubious says:

    Presumably the arbitrage will be on the Guernsey to Jersey flights…and redeeming them for one of the longer segments.

  • Brian says:

    “ It was great to talk to an airline executive who is actually positive about the future and looking at strong growth!”

    Was he/she able to give any reasons for expecting strong growth? I’m not saying they’re wrong but it would be interesting to understand why they think they’ll be immune to a close to double-digit GDP decline this year and the associated unemployment etc

    • memesweeper says:

      Their niche is almost empty following the collapse of FlyBe. Even if the economy shrinks very badly for an extended period they should be able to grow their network.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Flybe had 72 aircraft. Blue Skies has 5. They have lots of growth potential with a large number of domestic routes now available. Not all will be operationally possible or profitable but just adding one aircraft grows their fleet/business by 20%.

        There are undoubtedly tough times ahead for some, but for others, the next 3yrs will define their business in a positive way.

    • Yuff says:

      There aren’t many places that can charge £140 return for a 7 min flight, multiple times a day……

      • Brian says:

        Fair point but that doesn’t imply anything about growth potential…

      • Rob says:

        We talked about this. The issue is maintenance. Virtually all aircraft maintenance requirements are caused by the stresses of take off and landing.

        Doing 7 minute flights is, in terms of maintenance costs, a disaster.

        When aircraft are sold, it usually says how many landings they have done.

        • Yuff says:

          i would have thought the margin of profit on a gci-jsy flight is quite a bit higher than a 2 hour jet flight from Lon to Spain.
          I get that maintenance may eat up a bigger amount of profit but when there was competition in the Channel Islands the flights were £60 return as I used to fly to guernsey, via jersey, from east Mids.

  • Gerry says:

    “Without the codeshare deal and single ticketing, flying Exeter to Manchester (Blue Islands) to Inverness (Loganair) would attract two APD charges in each direction.”

    Would be true with Aberdeen at the northern end, but there is no APD ex-INV.

    • Tony says:

      The article did say ‘to’ INV. The inbound keg does attract APD.

      However presumably you don’t need a Codeshare to circumvent this. I know I’ve had two different airlines from different alliances on one ticket in the past…

      • Qrfan says:

        That’s called interlining. It’s a much weaker arrangement than a code share but still allows one ticket and multiple airlines.

        • Tony says:

          Why do you say it’s weaker? As I understand it, a codeshare Connection lists higher on a GDS, but I can’t understand why the underlying transaction is in any way inferior because of this.

    • Rob says:

      Sorry, bad example chosen.

  • MR MALC COUPAR says:

    The collapse of flybe will also benefit the other regional airline in the British Isles, Aurigny. Aurigny has picked up former flybe services from Guernsey to Exeter and Birmingham, to add to its existing services from Guernsey to Alderney, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and seasonal services to Norwich and Grenoble. Aurigny also has its own frequent flyer scheme and is working on interlining and codeshare partnerships for future release.

    • Dwb1873 says:

      I’d almost like to believe this was Malcolm Coupar – but it’s far too entrepreneurial. On the other hand, it’s got a whiff of delusion/hubris to it, so it just might be the real deal….

      Still, Aurigny will have those nice two shiny new ATRS it didn’t need, and a very low average fleet age disproportionate to the market it has, to crack on with this.

      Shame the Guernsey tax payer will be anywhere between £30m to £60m worse off. This year.
      Absolute bargain Jersey got there with Blue Islands – and BA to Heathrow too now as well.

  • ADS says:

    Southampton – Dublin appears to only operate 4x per week – Mon / Wed / Fri / Sun

    at least they are now showing up on Skyscanner