Thomsonfly - we're not smiling

I thought it was all going too smoothly for Julian Green and his team at Jersey Airport.

After a year that saw a number of new routes & significant growth in passenger numbers, we've been brought down to earth with a bump by the news that Thomsonfly are to cease operating from Doncaster, Luton & Cardiff from March 2008. This will leave Coventry as the only route operated by the airline - and who knows for how much longer.

This is disastrous for Jersey's tourism industry on 2 counts. First Thomsonfly achieved significant growth in volumes this year, with a total of over 120,000 passengers carried to/from Jersey. The airline had built up a 12% share of the market - and now it will all but disappear. More importantly, in my opinion, Thomsonfly led the market in bringing low cost fares to the island. Not just a few seats on each flight, but a significant proportion of the aircraft's capacity was sold at low fares and often these fares were available right up to departure.

As we know, this summer's weather was one of the poorest for many years, but despite that late bookings for July & August were stronger than ever. It is my belief (and that of others I have spoken to) that this demand was being driven by Thomsonfly and other airlines who were strongly promoting Jersey in their advertising as a low-cost destination - in effect doing the tactical marketing job for the island. The fact that visitors could still book fares of £70.00 or less return in peak season was a major factor in encouraging them to visit Jersey thi summer.

So now Thomsonfly are flying off to sunnier climes, what can Julian and his team do to secure an alternative operator on these routes? I am sure the Airport team will be working hard on this but the key is that whoever is persuaded (or incentivised!) to do so, is committed to providing low fares.

4 comments:

delboysmate@yahoo.com said...

I have just arrived in London once again courtesy of Thomsonfly via Luton. Date 17th October, nearly the last of such flights. Always away early or on time, no fuss no frills, always economical. 2 hours to Blackfriars for the City. Why when they brought in truly low cost fares did Flybe increase capacity to Gatwick, lower its fares, with British Airways to Gatwick following suit. But that's competition for you.
Has anyone at Tourism or The Airport tried to get them to re-instate these Doncaster and Luton connections and if so what news came from any negotiations?

Robert Mackenzie said...

Thanks for your comment, dellboysmate. Like you, I am very sad to see Thomsonfly disappear from Jersey, as they brought genuine low cost fares to the island.

My contacts suggest that the Airport is working very hard to find an alternative operator for Luton. Hopefully there will be some encouraging news on this in a month or so. Keep checking back....

Anonymous said...

Well, about to board an EasyJet from London to Jersey. Almost the last!!!

So where do we go from here?

Wish that Flybe abd BA had similar up to the date, low fares, rather than having to book weeks ahead to gain any reduction.

delboysmate@yahoo.com said...

Sad to see Easyjet has thrown the towel in with Jersey. Just got the nearly last one at £29 to Luton.

Flybe will operate there but Tuesday Thursday and Sunday only.

Not so easy to plan for in advance and will the fares be as competitive?

The train fares have just gone up a good 8% from Luton to London also. But the Southern fares from Gatwick only 4%.

Pity about Easyjet. Used it frequently and always carried full to nearly full loads. So don't get the reason to quit.

Does anyone know why? The Liverpool Jersey easyjet is carrying on I am told