18-Mar-2020 Source: HeliHub.com
The new scheduled service between the British mainland and the Isles of Scilly started yesterday, but the launch was marred by climate change protesters with “Climate Crime Scene” banners, including one approx 8m long and 2m tall.
The scheduled service route between the old Penzance Heliport (only “over the road” from the new one) dates back to 1964, and saw services with Sikorsky S61s through to 2012, when the valuable heliport land was sold to a supermarket group. This was operated by British Airways Helicopters, which later became British International Helicopters.
The new operation under the name of Penzance Helicopters is a joint venture between UK Leonardo distributor Sloane Helicopters and Tresco Estate, one of the Isles of Scilly. The service is operated under Sloane Helicopters Air Operator Certificate.
The planned-for Leonardo AW139 helicopter which was due to start the service remains caught up in China by export restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We understand that the aircraft is owned by LCI Leasing, and has been on a short-term lease in the country. It was delivered ex-factory in Italy in March 2018, and registered in China in November 2018. We assume that it was planned to be ready and in service this week, and will clearly not arrive for some weeks yet, probably months.
As a result, the operation started yesterday with a pair of AW109SP GrandNew as stand-in aircraft until the AW139 arrives.
Penzance Helicopters also missed a huge PR opportunity by not inviting the aviation press, particularly in COVID-19 times when the industry is crying out for positive stories. We hope that with HeliHub.com highlighting the story, other aviation media outlets will pick this up. No PR images have been distributed either.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com