Implementation of Emergency Plan for Disrupted Passengers
From Port of Jersey,
13 August 2018
Approximately 650 air and sea passengers faced disruption on Friday evening, 10 August 2018 when inclement sea conditions and an aircraft technical issue resulted in the cancellation of a ferry service and a Gatwick flight.
Strong winds and sea conditions led to the cancellation of the Condor Ferries early evening departure to Poole, disrupting 500 passengers. Of that number, overnight accommodation had to be sourced by Ports of Jersey staff, assisted by Condor Ferries for 160 of them, the majority of whom were visitors to the Island and had no alternative accommodation option.
Later that same evening technical issues resulted in the cancellation of an easyJet flight to London Gatwick, which affected 149 of its passengers. Once again, alternative accommodation for the night was sourced by staff from ground agents Swissport on behalf of the airline for the 50 passengers who were unable to secure their own.
On what was one of the busiest weeks in the Island due to the annual Jersey Battle of Flowers, the majority of holiday accommodation was already full; although teams across both Ports worked tirelessly throughout the evening to secure what rooms were still available for those passengers who had no alternative accommodation option.
When it became evident that no further alternative overnight accommodation could be sourced, a decision was made to keep the Elizabeth Terminal open all night and move all of the affected sea and air passengers to a single location at St Helier Harbour. Affected air passengers were transported by coach down to the harbour, arrangements were made with the Island's Emergency Planning Office to provide camp beds and blankets while catering supplier Casual Dining Group (CDG) provided complimentary light snacks and refreshments, which were available throughout the night. CDG also provided breakfast on Saturday morning.
Duty Executive for Ports of Jersey, Les Smallwood, who oversaw Friday's process along with senior members of the Customer Services Team explains, "Living on an island we are used to travel disruption with tried and tested processes in place to deal with such situations. It was extremely unfortunate that on one of the busiest nights of the year we faced travel disruption at both at the airport and harbour. However, considering the volume of passengers affected, the teams at both ports worked tirelessly to assist them with what resources were available at the time. Although overnight accommodation was found for 160 of the 210 passengers that required it, we had no option but to implement our emergency plan to assist those 50 passengers who were still affected. Although disappointed and frustrated, the majority of passengers were understanding of the situation and appreciated the efforts being made on their behalf. It was a very challenging evening for us, especially in light of the busy time of year but despite this I appreciate the great efforts put in by our own Ports of Jersey team together with those partner agencies that worked with us to assist these displaced passengers".
Alternative travel options for those passengers affected were subsequently handled by the airline and ferry operator.