Extra sailings and flights in pipeline
A NEW plane and sailings every day of the week during the summer will help to prove the ongoing commitment of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company to its passengers, the head of the organisation has said.
The soon to be built passenger terminal at Land's End airport will also be given an extra boost. More expansion plans were revealed to cope with the envisaged increase in customers after British International Helicopters said it would stop flights from Penzance to the islands from October 31.
The announcements were made as the company toasted 75 years of fixed wing flights from the mainland to the Isles of Scilly.
But plans for a fly-past by a De Havilland Rapide to mark the accolade had to be called off because of poor weather and technical problems.
"As a company we have been working tirelessly during these past six weeks to reassure people of our ongoing commitment through our fixed wing aircraft, passenger ferry and freight services," said Andrew May, the company chairman.
"You have to live on the islands to appreciate fully the value, the importance, of the link that has been forged between this airport and the Isles of Scilly, a link which has endured for 75 years, remarkable evidence of this airport's success."
He added that the company was looking at bringing in a new aircraft that could accommodate 19 people as well as rescheduling flights so more took off from Land's End, Newquay and Exeter. Seasonal flights from Bristol and Southampton will not run during 2013, said Mr May, enabling more frequent flights from the three other centres.
The move came alongside the possible introduction of week-long sailings on the Scillonian during the summer and expansion plans for the airport, which the company purchased earlier this year.
"We have listened to the concerns of people on the islands and have tried to find ways to accommodate their requests," said Mr May.
"We are working hard to implement changes and improvements so that people are still able to do all they have done before."
Mr May said the Scillonian would continue to operate from Penzance: "We have been sailing from there since 1920 and our intention is to continue to do that."
Welcoming news that the harbour development looks to be moving ahead, Mr May said the service would continue if the plans fell through.
"We will keep operating the service even if nothing happens but it will just bring more challenges."
And Mr May said the company wouldn't be adding scheduled passenger helicopters to its portfolio anytime soon. "There are no plans for us to operate a passenger helicopter service from Land's End," he said.