CONDOR Ferries is expecting to create around 100 jobs thanks to an expected summer boom in bookings.
The company, which runs between Poole, the Channel Islands and France, recently announced it was adding a Brittany Ferries ship to its routes.
The Condor Voyager, previously called the Normandie Express, will provide more capacity on the routes already served by Condor Liberation.
Condor says it expects to take on around 100 staff in seasonal and permanent roles this summer, split between ports and ships.
“Once that’s complete, we will be carrying out some sea trials in all our ports and then sailing to use the ship in the summer alongside Condor Liberation and hopefully get people to meet up with friends and family and go on their long-anticipated holiday,” he said.
With many other travel options closed down, and some passengers hesitant about boarding planes, Condor is expecting many more people to choose ferry travel.
“Ferries are a great form of transport – very large open spaces, you can take everything you need to with you on holiday,” said Mr Dop.
“Jersey and Guernsey are part of the Common Travel Area so are very much regarded as the UK in the context of travelling post-pandemic – so people can come to the islands in the knowledge that they are a safe environment.”
Condor expects to add France to its services when international travel returns.
“France is very important to Condor. Albeit the vaccination programme is slightly behind the UK, they’re very quickly catching up and so hopefully we’ll see a resumption of travel to France this summer,” said Mr Dop.
Condor Voyager is a 98metre (321ft) high-speed catamaran which can carry up to 850 passengers and 235 cars. It can travel at 42 knots, reaching Guernsey from Poole in around three hours and Jersey in around four hours.
Its addition to the Condor fleet has been made possible because Brittany Ferries – which runs the Barflue service between Poole and Cherbourg – has a minority stake in Condor Ferries. That has been the case since 2019, when Condor was bought by a consortium in which Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund is the majority partner.
“It demonstrates the benefits of having two companies working together in such a way and gives us a bigger shop of 235 cars compared to our smaller vessels. Condor Rapide is 150 cars so quite an increase but hopefully we can carry people in the numbers they want,” said Mr Dop.
On board the ferries, there would be Covid safety measures “in line with the best and most up to date guidelines”, he said.
After the stopping and starting enforced by lockdown since March 2020, Condor is glad to have seen the signs of pent-up demand from passengers.
“We’ve got a timetable out there for the summer and we’re taking bookings. It’s plain to see that there was interest in sailing and travelling to and from the Channel Islands,” said Mr Dop.
“We’re hoping for a very good summer.
“Last year was an extremely difficult one for the company, for the staff and the crews but we’re very well prepared for this year.
“Hopefully we’re seeing some of the nice green shoots in terms of interest in people wanting to travel again.”