Thursday, 15 February 2018
FRIST was shocked to learn of the announcement by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group of their proposal to start a helicopter service in May. This will be recognised as a spoiling tactic rather than an action taken in the interests if the community, since the company strongly opposed through a judicial review the planning application for a heliport in Penzance by a competing service.
Even if this proposal comes to fruition, it leaves islanders and visitors at the mercy of a company whose exploitation of their monopoly position has earned it unprecedented unpopularity as evidenced by over 11,000 signatures on a petition in support of the Penzance heliport.
FRIST urges Penzance Heliport and TRESCO estates to pursue with vigour their own plans for a helicopter service from Penzance to the islands, bringing much needed competition on the route, and to operate from a superior mainland terminal for rail, bus and road accessibility and from a weather point of view.
Further information Marian Berkeley FRIST Co-ordinator 07770 341302, 01720 423954, firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIST, the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport, is a campaign group set up in 2011 to promote improvements in mainland transport links. It has over 2,000 subscribers.
The Chairman of the IOSS Group made the following announcement today:
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group is working in partnership to launch a new helicopter service from Land’s End Airport to the Isles of Scilly, starting in May.
Called Island Helicopters the service will be operated by Gloucester-based Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) using a brand new 10-seater AW169 aircraft. SAS is no stranger to Cornwall and already operate the Cornwall Air Ambulance from Cornwall Airport Newquay, bringing important economies of scale when it comes to maintenance and operations.
Island Helicopters will fly year-round up to six days a week, with eight flights per day. Fares will start from £215 for a return, with a flight time of approximately 15 minutes. Tickets will go on sale in April, but customers will be able to register their interest via our website today.
Our plan is to fly from Land’s End Airport, which is part of the Steamship Group, to St Mary’ Airport and Tresco, subject to agreement with both. We look forward to working with Tresco because we know how important a direct helicopter link is to their customers in particular.
We aim to meet that demand and grow the travel market to Scilly by providing a year-round helicopter service that uses existing infrastructure and will complement and fully integrate with current fixed wing and sea operations to Scilly. The Steamship Group’s Board understands and would emphasise the strategic importance of all these services to the islands’ community.
This will bring greater choice, resilience and capacity to the transport network - all things our customers want to see. It will also help sustain the long-term viability of the islands’ transport system, and continued investment in it.
Recent substantial investment at Land’s End Airport and St Mary’s Airport by the Steamship Group and the public sector has greatly improved the air passenger experience, and we have just completed the installation of a GPS-based navigation system in all eight of our Skybus fixed wing aircraft to improve resilience and reliability.
Land’s End Airport currently handles 60,000 passengers and 10,000 aircraft movements a year and we strongly believe it offers the best opportunity for a viable helicopter service in the medium to long term, without adding significantly to the islands’ infrastructure cost base.
Our company was founded by islanders almost 100 years ago to foster the prosperity and wellbeing of the communities we serve. Our mission today is no different and I hope you will join me in wishing the Island Helicopters service every success.
Isles of Scilly Steamship Group
Monday, 22 January 2018
Those signed up for FRIST update emails will have already have received the FRIST Newsletter (Jan 18). Below is the text of the email accompanying with links to the newsletter and Penzance Heliport Ltd's website guidance on 'how to help'.
FRIST Newsletter - January 2018
With the start of a new year we have reviewed the transport situation and the transport needs of the Isles of Scilly.
Our priorities are:
• Positive and immediate news of the start of the helicopter service.
• Significant improvements in freight services which are currently stifling investment in the Islands.
• A firm IOSSG commitment to a replacement for the Scillonian III.
• IOSSG to set up a Public Consultation Panel.
• A winter ferry service.
• ‘Aid of a Social Character’ and other economic support.
• Publication of a Government plan for transport resilience.
To read more please download the FRIST newsletter here
The revised Penzance Heliport planning application is now in the public domain. If you commented on the earlier application we encourage you to do so again but please read the advice here on how you can help before doing so. Marian Bennett