14th February 2006
Blue Islands takes to the skies
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.
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.