''Flight'' magazine reports of Jersey Airways operations

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Jersey Airways featured regularly in the columns of the respected aviation magazine Flight, with regular reports of special flights, operational statistics interspersed with major features on their operations.

Company formed

21 December 1933

A limited company named Jersey Airways Ltd with a nominal capital of £20,000 has been registered by the Jersey Royal Court. The objects of the company will be to establish an air service between Jersey and England. The company’s DH Dragon flew from Portsmouth to Jersey on Friday 15 December in 54 minutes. The object of this flight was to make sure that when the regular service was put into operation on the following Monday there would be no ‘hitches’.

Three directors of the company, Messrs W L Thurgood, L T H Greig and Mr Sharpe were passengers on this ight. From Jersey alone the bookings to the end of the month number nearly 80. To cope with the rush two Dragons have been borrowed from other companies, one from Brian Lewis and the other from the Scottish Motor Traction Co Ltd. The company will soon have more machines of this type of its own.

The single fare between Portsmouth and Jersey is 32s 6d and the return fare is 55s.

It was originally intended that only one trip should be made daily, but to cope with the large number of bookings there will be two. The Portsmouth municipal authorities are operating a bus service from Portsmouth station to the aerodrome. In Portsmouth the agents for the company are Ume Shaw Ltd; the Jersey offices of the company are at 1 Mulcaster Street, St Helier. If favourable progress is made more services may be started by the company.

Heston service starts

1 February 1934

On Sunday 28 January the first aeroplane left Heston for St Helier, Jersey, on a daily service to be operated by the new company, Jersey Airways Ltd, reference to which has already been made in Flight.

A special bus will leave their London office, 17-19 Cockspur Street, at 9.45 am, and the aeroplane, a DH eight-seater Dragon, will leave Heston at 10.55 am, arriving at St Helier exactly two hours later. The return service will leave St Helier at 2 pm, arriving at Heston at 4 pm.

The fares are £2 19s 6d single and £4 19s 3d return.

The busy beach at Easter 1934


22 March 1934

On Monday 12 March the incoming service from Jersey was duplicated, and 17 passengers in all were carried on the Jersey route that day. The company are expecting delivery of another Dragon, bringing their fleet up to five. Two services a day will be run during Easter Week. The timetable is as follows:

Heston (dep) Jersey (dep)
Thursday 29 March 7.15/11.30 9.15/2.15
Friday 30 March 7.15/11.30 9.15/2.15
Saturday 31 March 7.15/11.30 9.15/2.15
Sunday 1 April 7.45/12.00 9.45/2.45
Monday 2 April 8.00/12.30 10.15/3.30
Tuesday 3 April 8.30/1.00 10.45/3.45
Wednesday 4 April 9.00/1.30 11.15/4.00

Ambulance flight

28 June 1934

A few days ago a passenger in a very bad state of health was brought from Jersey to Heston on the regular airline with the very minimum of fatigue, by replacing two passenger seats with a pneumatic mattress. Many other invalids have arrived at Heston by airliner in the last few months, and it seems that the travelling public is beginning to realise that the air is a less fatiguing element than land and water.

Thurgood family

11 October 1934

On diffidently approaching on eight-weeks-old baby for details of its trip from Jersey yesterday, "it" was discovered to be the youngest representative of the family of Mr W L Thurgood, the proprietor of Jersey Airways. A further investigation revealed Mrs Thurgood, two further younglings aged four and two respectively, and, lastly, Mr Thurgood himself — practising what he preaches in his quiet manner. None of the family seemed to have noticed the half gale which was blowing at the time.

Jersey Airways new fleet

15 November 1934

Some months ago it was stated in Flight that one of our most successful unsubsidised operating companies, Jersey Airways, Ltd, would be putting DH 86s into service. Last week an order was placed with the De Havilland company for six of these machines, which will each carry fourteen passengers, and which are to be equipped with all the latest aids to navigation.

Once or twice since the Jersey line was opened the DH Dragons have reached their objective safely on one engine, and the new machines should completely remove any possibility of failure over the long sea crossing, for they can fly fully loaded on any two of the four Gipsy Six engines fitted. Cruising at 145 mph, the DH 86 will reduce the time for the Heston-St Helier journey to something rather less than an hour and a half.

Jersev Airways, Ltd, under the management of Mr W L Thurgood, a coach operator and bodybuilder, started operations between Portsmouth and St Helier on 18 December 1933, and between Heston and St Helier on 28 January this year.

Since that time the fleet has been increased from one DH Dragon to eight, and something like a thousand passengers were carried every week during the summer season. During the month of August alone the figure reached 4,500, and even now an average of more than 250 passengers are carried every week on the single daily service each way. At the end of last month, 18,530 passengers had been carried since the service started.

The wide stretch of sand in St Aubin's Bay is at present used as a landing ground—a fact which tends to make the timetable a troublesome one—but in due course an aerodrome will be laid out near the racecourse at St Helier. In the meantime, the new machines will require rather more landing space, and Mr L T H Greig, the Jersey manager, will have a difficult task in seeing that the sands are really and truly clear of possible airscrew victims.

The purchase of the new fleet, which involves a sum of something like £50,000, has been made possible through the additional capital obtained by arrangement with the Whitehall Securities Corporation. If 1935 is as successful a year, in proportion, as 1934, the backers should receive value for their money. There is no reason why it should not be, for Jersey Airways are well known and have had a trouble-free season.

1934 figures

10 January 1935

The rise to prominence of Jersey Airways, though remarkable, might, perhaps, have been prophesied in view of the considerable saving of time. Started with a single Dragon between Portsmouth and St Helier on 18 December 1933, the Heston-Portsmouth-Jersey service has been filling eight machines daily during the season, and six fully equipped DH 86s were ordered in November for this year's operations.

Despite the difficulties caused by the fact that the beach is used as a landing ground at St Helier, necessitating a continually changing time-table, 18,530 passengers were carried up to 10 November 10, and even in the winter the weekly average has been in the region of 250. During the season an average of 4.5 passengers per trip was carried. In July a bi-weekly Paris service was run from Jersey, but this year the trip will be made to Rennes, an important railway junction for the north of France. From September 31 onwards a daily service to Jersey has been continued.

Rennes service

17 January 1935

On January 8 the first service between Jersey and Rennes was run by Jersey Airways, Ltd. Two "Dragons," each with a full load, were used and Mr L T H Greig, a director of the company, was the only passenger not o£ the true "farepaying" order.

Prospects good

31 January 1935

The figures for the first year of operation suggest that Jersey Airways will have little difficulty in filling their new DH 86s or in putting up an even better exhibition of reliability during 1935.

Of the services due to leave Heston, 97 per cent ran to schedule, while 100 per cent, of those from Portsmouth and Southampton were booked as "regular". In spite of the fact that the Jersey fleet consisted of eight DH Dragons, machines were often chartered during the summer season.

Machines leaving Heston were filled, on an average, to 65.5 per cent, of capacity (4.76 passengers per trip), and those leaving Portsmouth and Southampton to 74 per cent, of capacity (5.32 passengers per trip).

Incidentally, negotiations which have been going on for some time between the Great Western and the Southern Railways, W L Thurgood, of Jersey Airways Ltd, and Whitehall Securities Corporation Ltd, have been brought to a successful conclusion, with the result that the parties have become jointly interested in the recently formed company known as Channel Islands Airways, Ltd. The new company will have a capital of £150,000, one-third of which is to be held by the two railway companies jointly, the other two parties holding one-third each.

Channel Islands Airways Ltd, which is the holding company for Jersey Airways and the new Guernsey Airways, will work in conjunction with Railway Air Services and will have the valuable support of the two railway companies.

With such a backing the future appears to be rosy enough

A Police Guard for Giffard Bay on its first visit to Jersey

Giffard Bay maiden flight from London

14 February 1935 Jersey Airways first DH 86 Express, Giffard Bay, flew its maiden trip from Heston to St Helier last thursday. See full story


4 April 1935 - abridged

January of last year saw the birth of summer and winter airline operation at Heston with the first London services of Jersey Airways. During 1934 7,000 passengers were carried between Heston and Jersey, over 1,900 passengers between Heston and the French coastal resorts, and 2,875 passengers between Heston and Ryde.

This year will see an increased number of air-line companies using Heston as their terminus.

Timetables are being speeded up. As already recorded, Jersey Airways have taken delivery of the third of their six new DH 86s, which reduce the London-Jersey passage by half an hour.

After April 15 — which appears to be a critical date—Jersey Airways and Spartan Airlines will occupy the large new hangar, with 100ft entrances at either end, which was erected on the west side of the airport at the beginning of this year. Jersey Airways, which at present run once daily each way, will start a twice-daily service to St Helier on June I. From about this date, too, services will call on request at Alderney, where a fully equipped aerodrome is now being prepared. Jersey Airways' present service from Jersey to Rennes will be discontinued at the end of this month, but arrangements are being made to run to some other point in France to enable pasengers to connect with airlines to the south without the necessity of passing through Paris.

The airport of Jersey is not likely to be ready for use this year, and in the meantime the necessary beach landings will, as usual, be restricted bv the tides, which do not allow of more than two services a day.

Record figures

5 November 1936

Jersey Airways, a company which started operations in a small way at the close of 1933, has once again been carrying record loads with a fleet of six DH 86s, two D 89s, and one of the original DH 84s.

Since the Jersey airport is not ready, the beach at St Helier is still being used, and this fact causes the company's operations to be somewhat unique. Only two daily services can be run in the normal way, and the result is that as many as eight machines are flown over more or less together at the rush periods.

Jersey now has its radio D/F station, and this should have been of considerable assistance to the pilots during 1936. Incidentally, of 792 flights scheduled between Heston and Jersey in the first nine months of the year, only two were cancelled owing to fog. Absolute regularity was recorded on the Southampton-Jersey service— and this with the tidal difficulties which do not permit of service delays. The Plymouth-Jersey service is still by way of being an experiment, and was operated twice weekly during the summer.

This year Alderney has been an on demand stopping place, and when Guernsey's airport is ready the interisland circuit will probably be reopened. It will be remembered that the amphibian previously used for this service was unfortunately lost at sea this year, causing the only passenger fatalities since the company started.

1936 statistics

21 January 1937

A detailed analysis of traffic on Jersey Airways routes shows that 31,229 fare-paying passengers were carried in 1936. Of those, 9,382 travelled on the Heston route, 21,150 passengers travelled between Southampton and Jersey, 315 on the summer service between Plymouth and Jersey and 382 between Jersey and Alderney.

When the Plymouth and Alderney figures are deducted, a fair comparison can be made with those of the previous year, and the figures show an increase of 23.99 per cent. It is interesting to notice that 7,347 passengers were carried in the month of August alone.

During the seven months between 1 March and 30 September, 100 per cent, of the scheduled flights were completed.

During the remaining five months, 37 out of 983 scheduled flights were cancelled or interrupted on the Heston route, and 18 out of 996 on the Southampton route.

New routes

29 April 1937

During their fourth year of operation Jersey Airways will be running, in addition to their Southampton and Heston-Jersey services, daily services between the island and both Exeter and Brighton, as well as a feeder service between Jersey and Alderney.

Last year, it may be remembered, the company's main lines made a call at Alderney, and a service between Plymouth and Jersey was run more or less experimentally.

Exeter's airport at Clyst Honiton„ some four miles from the city, is due to be opened next month. Needless to say, the new airport at St Peter, Jersey, adds a certain dignity to the 1937 operations, and passengers have all the rail-air advantages to be obtained from co-operation with RAS.

Back to Portsmouth

10 March 1938

THose who have had anything to do with internal air transport since the early days will remember that the first services operated by Jersey Airways started from Portsmouth, but during the last year or so, and until the operational centre was transferred to the new Jersey Airport, Southampton Airport has been the company's base.

This year the Portsmouth-Jersey service has been reopened and the first machine, a DH 86, left Portsmouth on 28 February.

Although the fares between Southampton-Jersey have been raised, the company is now offering special week-end and midweek fares. Last year, incidentally, Jersey Airways carried 33,300 passengers and something like 1,000,000 lb of mail and freight, mainly between Southampton and the Island. In all, during the last four years, Jersey Airways have carried more than 110,000 passengers.

'Airline of the world'

Airline companies of the world, 28 April 1938

Jersey Airways, 1 Mulcaster Street, St Helier, and St Peter's Airport, Jersey, CI — Directors: W L D Roberts (Chairman), W L Thurgood (Managing), L T H Greig (General Manager), J A Perree (President), J de C Ballardie, K W C Grand and H Mansbridge.

Composition of company: One-sixth Southern Railway, one-sixth Great Western Railway, one-third Mr W L Thurgood and one-third Whitehall Securities.

  • Fleet: 6 DH86
  • Pilots: W B Caldwell (Chief), J M Israel, D F C Brecknell, E W Jordan, A G M Cary, B Walker and G Rayer.
  • Routes served: Jersey-Alderney, London-Jersey, Southampton-Jersey, Portsmouth-Jersey, Exeter-Jersey and Brighton-Jersey.

1938 figures

8 September 1938

Traffic figures appear to have settled down on the majority of holiday and similar internal air routes. Some figures which have recently been issued by Jersey Airways tend to suggest that little change may now be expected, though the use of more matter-of-fact services should automatically increase year by year as prospective passengers become more accustomed to flying as a means of travel.

The Jersey Airways figures compare a typical holiday week that ended on August 27 this year—with the corresponding week of 1937. The total number of passengers, both inwards and outwards, show quite a fair increase on the London-Jersey service (482 against 467) and a decrease on the Alderney-Jersey run (34 against 63).

The most popular service, that between Southampton and Jersey, carried 1,049 passengers against last year's 1,101, but this reduction is more than balanced by the figure for the Portsmouth-Jersey service, which was restarted this year. This shows that many of last year's passengers to and from Southampton found it more convenient to use Portsmouth as a stepping-off point.

Altogether, the services carried 98 more passengers this year —excluding the new Dinard service which is operated in pool with Air France. Eighty-two passengers were carried during the same week on this service.

Fatal accident

10 November 1938

After a remarkably good record during their five years of existence, Jersey Airways suffered, last Friday, an accident at Jersey Airport in which fourteen were killed, including the pilot, F/O A G M Cary, and the radio operator, R J Lyons.

The machine, one of Jersey's DH 86s, had taken off on the ordinary service, which was duplicated, and following another machine. It made a circuit of the aerodrome, entered the low cloud, and a moment later appeared again in a steep dive, striking the ground beyond the eastern boundary of the aerodrome.

The radio operator had already sent a message in the usual departure form, saying that the machine was climbing through the cloud, and eye witnesses state that the engines were running until the moment of impact.

At present, and until the findings of the official Air Ministry enquiry are published, it can only be supposed that, for one reason or another, the machine was accidentally stalled: At the time of the accident visibility was about 4,000 yd and the cloud height was 150ft — quite reasonable conditions for present-day operations.

First DH Flamingo

2 July 1939 - abridged

Soon after the prototype DH 95, or Flamingo, made its first flights it was rumoured that Jersey Airways, apart from other operating companies, were particularly interested in the type.

Nevertheless, in view of the early and considerable Government orders that have been placed for the machine, it is pleasantly surprising to find that this company is, in fact, the first to put the Flamingo into service. It may be imagined that Jersey Airways' interest in the machine was shown at a very early date and, in any case, the manufacturers would be right in endeavouring to have the type in regular use as a passenger carrier as soon as possible.

Recently the prototype has been in test use for the carriage of mails between Southampton and Jersey, and it is now due to go into regular week-end passenger service on the direct London and Southampton runs. After experience with a single machine during this summer season, Jersey Airways will probably place an order for several specialised versions.

The prototype has a standard capacity of twelve passengers, but the Jersey machines will carry eighteen and there will be certain minor modifications, too, in the control cabin layout.

From the passengers' point of view, the high-wing layout is very much appreciated. It seems to be years since passengers in transport aeroplanes had anything to look at except a vast expanse of shimmering metal wing. Admittedly, at present-day cruising heights there is not much to be seen in any case, but passengers do like to be able to see directly downwards.

Another little feature of the high-wing arrangement is that the cabin is very much cooler. Incidentally, except at the point where the main spar crosses the fuselage, the cabin is not only very high but wide, and almost from end to end anybody less than 6ft 7in in height can walk comfortably. Entry, too, does not demand gymnastics on a wobbling, mobile step-ladder.

On the outward journey Alderney was reached, against a 20 mph headwind, in two minutes less than an hour, giving an average speed of 167 mph, while the entire run from Jersey to Heston was afterwards made in 52 minutes, an average of 226 mph

One incidental result of the short visit to Guernsey on the way to Jersey was to learn that, though the airport has only been in use since the beginning of May, the traffic figures are already climbing up towards those at Jersey. In 70 days something like 5,000 passengers have been carried to and from the Island and, in all, there had been 1,663 machine arrivals between May 6 and July 14. Obviously these island services are being properly used and, though the run is a comparatively short one for a high-efficiency type like the DH 95, its speed should be a special inducement to passengers.

Occupation halts flying

11 July 1940 Jersey Airways looks towards a new wartime existence after leaving Jersey before the arrival of the Germans. Full story

Services resume after the war

28 June 1945

Exactly five years since German occupation of the Channel Islands forced to a stop their operations, Jersey and Guernsey Airways resumed their services on 21 June.

The scheduled operations on the London-Guernsey-Jersey route consist at present of a twice daily service, including Sundays, in both directions and a weekdays only service restricted to freight on the southbound run. All services are operated whenever necessary in duplicate or triplicate.

Flying time from Croydon to Guernsey Airport is 1½ hours, the whole journey from London, Victoria Coach Station, to Jersey terminus takes 4 hours, including a 15 minutes stop at Guernsey. The return fare for the London-Jersey or London-Guernsey journey is £5 8s and freight rate 1s 6d per lb.

The services are now being used for the repatriation of Channel Islanders returning home after years of exile.

Post-war operations

4 April 1946

Jersey Airways buck the trend of post-war aviation gloom and get back into action. Full story

Bristol Wayfarer

16 May 1946

Flight ran a full feature on the introduction of the Bristol Wayfarer to Channel Island Airways' fleet. Full story

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