Heathrow subsidy remains a secret. So who's next for a hand-out?

Whilst the great and the good of Jersey's tourism industry enjoy a trip round the Bay (of Biscay) aboard BMI's equivalent of the Saucy Sue, Senator Ozouf has confirmed that the subsidy provided by tax-payers to secure BMI on the Heathrow route will remain a state secret.
No surprise there then! The fact that it is being kept a secret, leads one to conclude that the amount involved is so big, that if it were revealed it would cause huge repercussions. So we wait to see if Flybe's challenge to the competition authorities both here and in the UK has any effect. Meanwhile, now that the skies have been opened from Heathrow to the US, I wonder how long BMI will want to keep flying to Jersey when they could use their slots for far more profitable routes across The Pond.
So who's next for a state handout? I expect an announcement within the next couple of weeks regarding the launch of new routes to the Continent. I would not be surprised if these are to Paris & Zurich - as these were the routes that were the last to disappear a few years ago and provide the only real chance of achieving a decent commercial result. And who will operate these routes? My guess is that the only operator who could possibly be persuaded to give it a go is a local airline - but we shall see.

It will be great to have the routes opened up. But I wonder how much they will receive from the States incentive pot? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

1 comment:

John R said...

Interesting blog post...I'm a journalist currently researching aviation subsidies.

Can a Freedom of Information application be filed to Senator Ozouf to get him to reveal the subsidy to BMI?