Travel

Which Airports Serve The Channel Islands?

The Channel Islands are an interesting archipelago as far as commercial air travel is concerned. Located just off the Normandy coast, to the northwest of France, these British Crown Dependencies are, like the Isle of Man, not technically part of the UK. However, flights from the country to its Crown Dependencies are treated as domestic services. Let’s take a look at the various airports that serve this archipelago in the English Channel,

Aurigny has a presence at two of the Channel Islands’ three airports. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Jersey

The busiest airport in the Channel Islands is situated in Saint Peter on the island of Jersey. Jersey Airport (JER) consistently averaged more than one million passengers a year before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, it registered more than 1.7 million passengers, its highest figure for nearly 25 years. 2020 saw this figure drop to 420,195.

Jersey is a popular holiday destination among sun-seeking UK travelers. As such, much of its traffic is seasonal. Additionally, several airlines also operate seasonal routes from Jersey to international destinations. These include Blue Islands (Zürich), British Airways (Málaga and Mallorca), Eurowings (Düsseldorf), Lufthansa (Munich), and Volotea (Tenerife).

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easyJet Airbus A320
easyJet operates Jersey’s busiest route, which serves London Gatwick Airport. Photo: easyJet

That being said, several year-round routes also serve the island. These serve destinations on the UK mainland, as well as the neighboring Channel Island of Guernsey. The busiest year-round route is easyJet’s London Gatwick service (670,763 passengers in 2018). Recently, Wizz Air also began serving Jersey from its Cardiff and Doncaster Sheffield bases.

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Guernsey

Interestingly enough, London Gatwick is also the largest market for the Channel Islands’ second-busiest airport. Located in Sainte Marguerite de la Foret, Guernsey Airport (GCI) saw more than 310,000 passengers fly to and from London’s second-busiest air travel hub in 2019. As opposed to Jersey, this route is not operated by easyJet, but rather by Aurigny.

Guernsey Airport
The apron and terminal building at Guernsey Airport. Photo: Madmedea via Wikimedia Commons

As well as serving a host of destinations on the UK mainland, Aurigny also flies from Guernsey to Dublin and neighboring Alderney on a year-round basis. These flights all operate within the British and Irish Common Travel Area. On a seasonal basis, Aurigny also flies internationally from Guernsey to Alpes–Isère Airport (GNB) in Grenoble, France.

In terms of other airlines, Blue Islands flies from Guernsey to Jersey and Southampton on a year-round basis. Meanwhile, British Airways serves the island seasonally from Edinburgh and London City. While the airport is yet to exceed one million passengers per year, it has topped 900,000 on several occasions. Coronavirus reduced 2020’s figure to just 184,503.

Aurigny Britten Norman Trislander
Aurigny used to fly the Britten Norman Trislander to Alderney. Photo: Steve Knight via Flickr

Alderney

Alderney Airport (ACI) is the third and final commercial aviation facility serving the Channel Islands. While the airport is far smaller and quieter than Jersey and Guernsey (a trait that also applies to the island itself, as cars are not permitted), it has three runways.

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Aurigny is currently the only airline serving Alderney. Owing to its short runways (the longest of which measures just 877 meters), these services tend to be the domain of the airline’s smaller aircraft, like the Dornier 228, and, previously, the Britten Norman Trislander.

At present, Aurigny’s Alderney-bound flights come from Guernsey and Southampton. The island has also previously seen services from elsewhere on the UK’s South Coast and even France. The island of Sark, on the other hand, has no airport. It is under the approach path for Guernsey, but aircraft cannot pass over Sark at altitudes lower than 2,400 feet.

How many of the Channel Islands’ airports have you used? Do you have a particular favorite? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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