Starspeed commences Isles of Scilly scheduled service

Starspeed commences Isles of Scilly scheduled service

15-Nov-2022 Source: HeliHub.com

As one of the longest run scheduled services in the world, the route from Penzance Heliport on the the south-west tip of England across open water to the Isles of Scilly has always attracted interest within the industry.  The 36 mile route has been flown by helicopters – with a couple of notable breaks – since 1964, and operates six days a week.

In June, British operator Starspeed announced that they would be taking over the contract, and their longer term plan is for two Sikorsky S76C++ helicopters, carrying nine passengers per flight.  The flexibility of two helicopters contrasts with the single Leonardo AW139 flown by Sloane Helicopters – when that aircraft became unavailable, significant costs were suffered in leasing in other suitable aircraft.

Starspeed’s first S76 arrived in the UK on Friday 11th from Canada, carrying a Nigerian registration.  It was taken by road to Turweston Aerodrome from where the necessary paperwork and flight tests will be carried out to satisfy UK CAA requirements, following which it will be ferried to Penzance Heliport.  A second S76C++ is due to arrive from the same source in Canada in the early spring of 2023.

Starspeed were due to start operations on Monday 7th, but put out a statement saying there would be no flights for a week “to allow our operations and office teams time to get acquainted with the changes” as they picked up the baton from previous operator Sloane Helicopters.  Starspeed then commenced flights from Monday 14th November using a Bell 429 from their charter fleet as a stand-in.

The AW139 utilised by Sloane Helicopters flew its last sector from the Isles of Scilly on Saturday 5th November, and was ferried on 7th to London Biggin Hill airport, after removal of all branding linking it to its previous role at Penzance.

 

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