Sloane Helicopters is one of the most respected operators in the UK and the family-owned business already enjoys strong Cornish connections
Penzance Heliport Ltd will team with one of the UK’s leading helicopter companies to operate the new helicopter link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.
Flights between Penzance and the islands of Tresco and St Mary’s will be operated by Sloane Helicopters from 2019.
Northamptonshire-based Sloane Helicopters has almost 50 years’ experience as one of the most accomplished helicopter companies in Europe, with clients including Air Ambulance charities and the Ministry of Defence. The company was formed in 1969 and remains in the private ownership of founder and Chairman David George, who was educated in Penzance.
Sloane will provide the AW139 aircraft for the Penzance to Isles of Scilly route and will employ key staff, including pilots.
The company will also provide engineering services, in conjunction with helicopter manufacturer Leonardo – formerly AgustaWestland – for whom Sloane has been the UK and Ireland distributor and service centre for over 22 years.
Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is leading the project to reinstate the helicopter link from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, said: “We held discussions with many operators from the inception of this project, but our conversations with Sloane were different.
“Their industry experience, relationship with the helicopter manufacturer, family ethos and knowledge of Cornwall shone through from the start, as did their enthusiasm and dedication to this project.
“They are also industry leaders in new navigational technology which will help us deliver a truly resilient and reliable service.
“Having Sloane onboard gives us every certainty of delivering our goal of bringing real resilience and genuine competition to the Isles of Scilly transport market, making the islands a better place to live, work and visit.”
Sloane’s customer base ranges from high profile individuals and three UK Air Ambulance charities to the provision of emergency medical support at major UK sporting events, including the Silverstone British Grand Prix.
The company also provides helicopters and engineering support for No 32 (The Royal) Squadron of the Royal Air Force, charged with the movement of high priority personnel including senior military commanders and Government Ministers.
As well as extensive experience and expertise in the helicopter industry, Sloane Helicopters has deep connections with Cornwall.
Managing Director of Sloane Helicopters, Jeremy Awenat, said: “David, our chairman, was educated in Penzance, our Chief Pilot lived and operated in Cornwall for many years, and I served at Culdrose, where I met and married a local lady.
“It’s fair to say we all share a deep love, experience and knowledge of Cornwall, and to be the aviation partner in such a prestigious project for the Isles of Scilly and the wider Cornwall region is hugely rewarding.
“We look forward to bringing our experience and expertise to the project for the benefit of islanders, visitors and local businesses.”
Penzance Heliport Ltd will reinstate helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance, serving the islands of St Mary’s and Tresco. Flights are anticipated to begin in Spring 2019.
The amended planning application for the project is expected to be determined by Cornwall Council in the coming weeks. The application provides details of the significant weather resilience benefits of the Penzance site, as well as the significant benefits the service will bring to the economies of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
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