The Isle of Man faced an uncertain future when airlines announced the closure of numerous flights to London, and to other regions. Manx Business Connection (MBC) has since then been in discussions with various airlines to find an effective solution. MBC believes that a regular daily London flight service is essential to the continued growth and development of business and industry on the Island.
We are now delighted to confirm that agreement has been reached for BA CityFlyer to operate daily return flights to London City airport, on all work days, and with an appropriate weekend schedule. MBC believes that it has struck the best deal available for the Island's needs.
This agreement has been made possible by Microgaming, which is providing the financial undertakings required to underwrite BA CityFlyer's flights to London City. MBC wants to involve a wide range of companies in this guarantee arrangement, but the need for a quick agreement meant that it had to rely on Microgaming in the first instance. MBC will be encouraging other organisations to participate in the "MBC Flight Support Group", details of which will be made available shortly. It must be stressed that neither Microgaming nor MBC will profit financially from the arrangements; both companies are involved because they recognise the vital importance of regular, reliable services at convenient times to an appropriate London airport.
The Island must avoid complacency, and not take these new services for granted. If there is insufficient use of the route, then BA CityFlyer will no doubt reconsider its position, and the guarantors cannot be expected to continue their support. We hope the business community will be flying BA to London City, and will be joining the MBC Flight Support Group.
"Use it or lose it" is the appropriate phrase.
Thanks are owing to the MD and key executives of BA CityFlyer for their tough-but-honest approach to the negotiations. We also thank Paul Novellie for his unstinting and valuable legal and common sense advice, and Paul Carpenter of MBC, who both spent many unsociable hours dealing with the intricacies of these deals. Brian Kelly of ORTG provided invaluable introductions and technical input and advice. Also, we appreciate the support of Chief Minister, DED Minister and Infrastructure Minister particularly during the delicate and confidential period of the negotiations. Finally, Roger Raatgever, CEO, and John Coleman, Finance Director of Microgaming were unstinting in their support and generous in recommending that Microgaming provide their very significant financial backing for this project.