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2008 - Aurigny 40 Years 1968 - 2008

Date of issue: 31 October 2008.

The island of Alderney is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the third largest of the Channel Islands, only three-and-a-half miles long, one-and-a-half wide, its population is less than 3,000. Its inhabitants have always been fiercely independent and happy to be relatively remote, and since the late 1960s have been safe in the knowledge that the airline that bears the island's French name, Aurigny, can always be relied on to get them to the outside world.

Aurigny Air Services was formed in 1968 by Sir Derrick Bailey DFC, a Second World War pilot who had set up an aero-engineering firm and in the process forged links with aeroplane manufacturers Britten Norman. It was that company that told him of Alderney's need for air links and suggested he look into it. Bailey's proposals were accepted and he set up a small operation flying Britten Norman Islander planes between Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey.

Our six stamps feature aircraft that have been incorporated into the Aurigny fleet over the past 40 years. 34p - Britten-Norman Islander. The original Aurigny plane: cute and oddly likeable, with 10 seats and two engines. 40p - Britten-Norman Trislander. The Islander's big brother: a bit more room and a bit more power (18 seats, three engines), but still with the character and lack of stature to inspire affection. 48p - DHC-6 Twin Otter. Made by De Havilland Canada, a famous old aircraft company, this 20-seater STOL (short take-off and landing) plane proved popular all over the world, from Africa to Alaska, and suited its Channel Islands role perfectly. 51p - Short 360. The 36 seats of this Belfast-manufactured aircraft reflected Aurigny's continuing growth. Utilitarian fuselage design led to its local nickname 'The Shed'. 53p - Saab 340. A Swedish two-engine turboprop, introduced in 1999 and became the airlines first pressurised aircraft. 74p - ATR 72. This was able to accommodate 72 passengers at up to 318mph and 25,000ft.