Plans are underway for the reinstatement of the popular scheduled helicopter service between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly. The helicopter flights will play a vital role in a multi-modal transport service for the islands. A planning application for a new heliport on Jelbert Way, Penzance, is expected to be submitted this autumn following a public event to discuss the plans in September (8th September).
The proposed location for building the new heliport is adjacent to the site of the former heliport on Eastern Green where a helicopter service for the islands operated successfully for 48 years, until October 2012. Residents, visitors and businesses have all been affected by the loss of the service and there have been calls for its reinstatement ever since.
The £2 million private investment, which will bring benefits for both west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s tourism markets and economies, is hoped to be completed in early 2018.
Connecting Penzance with St Mary’s and Tresco will be market-leading and modern AW139 15-seater helicopters. Renowned for being quieter and faster than other models, they are also equipped with state-of-the-art navigation systems. The year-round flights will provide a resilient and capable travel option for those travelling to and from the islands.
The helicopter flights will form part of an extended service for the islands, complementing services provided by Isles of Scilly Travel. The current travel offering includes fixed-wing aeroplane flights from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter and the Scillonian Passenger Ferry. For many years the three types of transport worked in harmony to deliver the most efficient possible transport system.
“The reinstatement of the popular and efficient helicopter service will provide a much needed injection of confidence and opportunity into the economies of both the Isles of Scilly and west Cornwall,” commented Robert Dorrien-Smith, owner of Tresco Island and one of the investors in Penzance Heliport Ltd.
Robert added: “Since the Penzance to Isles of Scilly helicopter service ceased we have received continuous requests for its return. The helicopters, thanks to lower level flying, can operate in poorer visibility, and therefore it will not only provide greater transport options, it will also provide better access and flexibility for those visiting, working and living on the islands.”
Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives & Isles of Scilly, adds: “After months of very careful planning and consideration we now have a genuine commitment and proposal to reinstate the helicopter service between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly. I am in full support because this investment will be a significant boost for our economy, both in west Cornwall and on Scilly, and help to address many of the concerns that people on the islands have regarding transport, particularly during winter months.”
The planning application will be submitted 30.9.16 and a decision is expected early 2017. Helicopter services to Scilly started in 1963 from Land’s End aerodrome and relocated to Eastern Green, Penzance in 1964, where the service (under several owners) operated reliably and profitably until 2012. It is hoped that the Heliport will also provide a self-serve emergency refueling facility for emergency helicopter services, such as search and rescue, police and the air ambulance. There currently isn’t such a service in west Cornwall, the nearest facility is in Liskeard.
HeliHub.com understands that a long-established UK AOC operator is closely involved with this proposal
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