Well, Flybe, why are we waiting?
Thursday 31st January 2013, 2:30PM GMT.
FLYBE doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations with islanders for reasons that are only too familiar to those who use its services.
In fairness to the airline, that may be because when you are dealing with more than seven million passengers and 83 aircraft and aspiring to become Europe’s leading regional carrier, the personal touch has to take a back seat.
However, how it deals with the Guernsey Airport security breach will be a defining moment for many of its CI customers.
As things stand, three and a half hours appear to have been wasted doing nothing about the open door found on one of its planes – which meant that hundreds of passengers were kept waiting in chaotic airport conditions while the problem was dealt with.
As things stand, the fear will be that Flybe couldn’t be bothered to do anything until the airport opened at 6.30am, thereby dumping all the inconvenience on the travelling public.
That may be an unfair assessment but its unwillingness to answer questions on the point yesterday and then to try to deflect attention to the airport perimeter gate also being left open are not reassuring.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that one of Flybe’s own mechanics was the last to leave the aircraft and the same sources say that the individual has emphatically denied leaving the aircraft unsecured.
If so, someone else had to manoeuvre steps up to the plane, unsecure the door and then clear their traces afterwards – perhaps slipping out of the unlocked perimeter door along the way.
While this is a potentially serious matter, there is much that does not stack up and no sense of urgency from anyone in getting to the bottom of things.
Guernsey’s airport authorities may have handled the security response side of things well – but they certainly got the communications and passenger handling badly wrong, as the letter in today’s Guernsey Press indicates.
Guernsey’s airport is too important – and not just reputationally – to be closed and any interruptions have to be fully and promptly explained and steps taken to prevent repeats.
And Flybe has to explain whether there was a compelling reason for its three-hour delay – or whether it really doesn’t care about its passengers.
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