The helicopter link between Penzance Heliport on the the south west tip of the UK, and the Isles of Scilly, some 25 miles further south west, has been suspended due to the pandemic.
Penzance Helicopters has announced all flights to Tresco and St Mary’s from Penzance Heliport have been cancelled until the spring 2021.
The company cited continuing uncertainty around lockdown has severely curtailed demand for travel to and from the Isles of Scilly through the winter months. While the lower demand would have been allowed for under a “normal” winter, it is clear that travel and holidays in the UK have taken a significant fall with the UK’s lockdown. Along similar lines, London’s Heathrow Airport had recovered in October to record 15% of the passenger numbers from the equivalent month in 2019, while the latest restrictions, dubbed “Lockdown 2” look like the November figure will be 5% of November 2019 – and the massive airport has reduced to single runway operations for the time being. One day earlier this week, London’s second airport at Gatwick recorded just three arrivals and two departures.
Penzance Helicopters have also stated that, despite their best efforts, the Department for Transport funding which underpins the majority of operators to the islands, has not been forthcoming. We assume this statement refers to the fixed wing Skybus service, as the Scillonian steamer only runs from mid-March to October.
The company thus made the difficult decision to suspend helicopter services until early spring. Helicopter flights between Penzance, Tresco and St Mary’s will resume on 10th March 2021.
Where this leaves the leased helicopter is currently unclear. The AW139 being used on this route had been leased in from Heliconia in Morocco and would have been operational through the winter months. It’s last flight this month was 7th November.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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