Scilly transport firm hits target for passengers
A "landmark year" has seen the company which provides transport to the Isles of Scilly report one of their healthiest years ever.
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has reported strong financial results after a year which has seen record investment in its air and sea services.
Chairman Andrew May unveiled the company's annual report saying it had seen "continued strong performance" had allowed it to make "record investment".
"We set ourselves the challenge of increasing our capacity so that we could carry every passenger wishing to travel to and from the islands from the start of the season, on whichever route they chose, and we met that challenge," he said.
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"Our strong cash position means we will continue to invest in strengthening the route, including plans to resurface two of the four grass runways at Land's End Airport this calendar year.
"It also allows us to keep supporting a range of initiatives including our Travel Club, which offers subsidised travel for islanders; sponsorship of the World Pilot Gig Championships and significant financial support for the Island Tourism Business Partnership which has continued this year."
Mr May said staff had risen to the challenge posed by the demise of the island helicopter service last October and the company had invested a record £3.5 million in boosting capacity and strengthening transport links to the islands.
This included a £2 million upgrade to its Scillonian passenger ship and work on freight vessels Gry Maritha and Lyonesse Lady to extend their life until at least 2018, and the completion of a new £1 million terminal building at Land's End Airport.
The company said it had created 50 new jobs, including pilots, engineers, fire crew and customer service staff, increasing its workforce to more than 200.
Despite a slow start the firm said it carried more passengers in July this year, some 34,054, than their services and the helicopter combined in the same month last year – 30,834.
This includes an average of 680 passengers by sea every day in July, and a record 669 passengers by air on July 27 this year.
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's financial results show that in the 12 months to the end of March, turnover increased by 7.2% to £12,485,719.
Pre-tax profits across the group rose to £1,069,587 from £944,927, an increase of 13.2%.