Clear Harbour Airways (Jersey) has deferred the launch date for its seaplane operations between the English Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey to Easter 2020 after being hit by further delays in the acquisition of an aircraft. It has also switched its focus from De Havilland Canada/Twin Otter equipment to a Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravan.

The service had initially been set to take off during the first half of 2018 with either DHC-3 or DHC-6 float-equipped planes, to operate directly from the harbours in St Helier on Jersey and St Peter Port on Guernsey with later expansion to Alderney. Clear Harbour gained a foreign Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in spring 2018, and a 14-seater DHC-3 had been due to arrive from Canadian parent firm Harbour Air Seaplanes (YB, Vancouver Coal Harbour).

However, in September 2018, founder Benjamin Hill, a lawyer, told the Jersey Evening Post that delays in sourcing an aircraft meant the company had to push back the start date to Easter 2019. He added that the seaplane operation would be supported by a traditional aircraft to be used when the main aircraft could not operate, and that he intended to employ five pilots in Jersey plus additional personnel.

Now the startup is looking at acquiring a Cessna Caravan when it launches services next Easter, as the Cessna is more powerful than a DHC-6 Twin Otter, Hill told the Guernsey Press on July 15. He added that agreement had been reached with the Jersey and Guernsey governments following navigational risk assessments of the islands’ harbours.

"Finance is the crucial element now. We’re in discussions with a number of groups within the Channel Islands, which is important to me because I want this to be a CI-owned airline," Hill said.