More flights and ferries for Scilly Isles
More flights and more ferry sailings will ensure residents of the Isles of Scilly and the thousands of holidaymakers and business people who visit the archipelago each year are not inconvenienced by the loss of the helicopter service from Penzance.
With British International Helicopters' decision to cease its service from Penzance on October 31, the company that operates the Scillonian ferry and flights from Land's End said it intended to "step up to the plate" and fill the gap.
Andrew May, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, used the 75th anniversary of fixed-wing flights from the mainland to St Mary's to announce a series of measures aimed at securing its commitment to serving residents and visitors.
Speaking at a reception held in a hangar at the airport yesterday, he said major investment, improved facilities and an increase in passenger numbers would be key elements of the company's growth plans for the coming months.
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Chief among these would be the opening of a new terminal building at Land's End in time for the 2013 season, the purchase of an additional Twin Otter aircraft and seven-day Scillonian sailings during the summer months.
"We have been steadily investing in Land's End Airport over a number of years," said Mr May. "Although the plans for the new terminal were approved 12 months ago and building got under way during the summer, the timing has proved to be extremely timely.
"The terminal, of which we are very proud, will be ready by March 2013, by which time we will have the capacity for a major increase in passenger numbers at the airport. The purchasing of an additional Twin Otter will bring the fleet to four, in addition to three Islander aircraft."
Flights from Land's End to St Mary's began 75 years ago today, when Captain D L Dustin took four passengers to the islands aboard a DH84 Dragon on 15 September 1937.
"You have to live on the islands to appreciate fully the value and importance of the link that has been forged between this airport and the Isles of Scilly – a link which has endured for 75 years and is remarkable evidence of this airport's success and of its value to the communities it serves," said Mr May. "We are aware of the increase in the number of people who need to use our services and have created a schedule for Skybus which enables us to increase capacity considerably.
"This company is stepping up to the plate for the community and we will do all we can to adapt to their needs."
Seventy-five years of flying to Scilly: Special report and pictures in Monday's WMN.