Linking the island with the French mainland through a Rennes airlink was the main focus of debate this week when Guernsey Chamber held meetings with the Franco British Council.

A number of proposed joint initiatives for the island and Brittany have been agreed,  together with support for the launch of a Rennes air link. Rennes Airport is 51per cent owned by the French Chamber of Commerce and a spokesman for the FBC said they ‘Really want this Rennes air connection to happen’.

News that the Airport here has seen the highest number of passengers for seven years has been welcomed by Guernsey Chamber, which says that a sustainable route to France and Europe as a whole is now a priority.

The organisation, which represents two thirds of the island’s working population,  says the 4.5 per cent rise year-to-date – with a particularly large increase last month – is clear evidence that calls for better air links are being acted upon by government and businesses in the sector.

‘The overall air passenger total of 81,254 last month included support for seven new routes which are a very welcome development,’ said a Chamber spokesperson.  

There was a  5,000 increase in passengers numbers using London airports last month compared with June 2018 with Heathrow attracting more than 3,000 passengers and 1,874 using the new Southend service.  

‘The business community has been calling for better pricing and more destinations and these statistics indicate that we are moving in the right direction so we just need to continue to build on this,’ the spokesperson added.

Confirmation of a link with Rennes would enable cultural and business connections to be further developed and the airport is also a valuable hub for both air and high speed train travel to the rest of Europe and beyond.

The IoD, which whom Chamber now works closely on a number of areas of joint interest, has also welcomed the increase in both number of routes and passengers coming to the island.

Other initiatives under discussion with the Franco British Council included the possibility of sourcing staff locally for retail and hospitality through an apprenticeship scheme based in Brittany and holding a business expo in Rennes for a cross-section of Guernsey industries this autumn.