Sunday, 5 February 2017

An historical piece about the British Airways Helicopter Service

Bill Ashpole was a helicopter pilot with British Airways when they ran the helicopter service to Scilly.  His article (see link here) covering 1975-1978 makes facinating reading (especially for those of an aeronautic bent).

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Heliport application supported by Strategic Planning Committee

Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee gave its backing to the Heliport application this morning in record time and with a unanimous vote.  The vote could not approve the application because an application had been made to the Secretary of State for the application to be 'called in' (who might have requested this?).  Just because a request has been made to the Secretary of State it does not mean that the SofS will necessarily do so.  Rob Goldsmith, IOSSG, spoke against the application.  Penzance Town Council and Ludgvan councillors spoke in favour of the application as did the applicant.

Cornwall Live article here

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Planning Officer recommends approval of Penzance Heliport

The Planning Officers report (for the Strategic Planning Committee 2 Feb) recommends approval of Penzance Heliport - you can read his report here .

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Penzance Heliport Planning Application - Determination 2 Feb 17

The Penzance Heliport planning application will be determined by the Strategic Planning Committee on 2 February at the Council Chamber, Council Offices, County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY.  The Committee meeting will begin at 10:00am.  The Planning Officer’s report on the application will be published 7 days before the date of the meeting and will be available at the link below:

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Historic air passenger numbers

An analysis of historic passenger numbers prepared by FRIST (Mike Peaker) a few years ago is helpful when considering the impact of the proposed new service.  Given the general strength in the tourism market there is no obvious reason why the re-introduction of the helicopter service should not see a return to air passenger numbers of ~170,000 per year (40,000 via Tresco).  This is a step change from current levels (~ 95,000), a lifeline for IOS Airport and a major boost for the local economy.  

Fears that some islanders have expressed that the new service will only benefit Tresco visitors are unfounded.  It will be economically essential for new service to serve both St Mary's and Tresco like the previous BIH service.  

Passenger stats here.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Tregarthen’s Hotel presents compelling case for new helicopter service.

Nigel Wolstenholme, writing on behalf of the owners of the Tregarthen’s Hotel, in support of the Penzance Heliport planning application, presents a compelling case for the new service.   He explains how the proposals help achieve a key objective in the IOS Council's Strategic Economic Plan (improved transport links with the mainland) and addresses the issues of transport capacity and transport reliability hampering the tourism sector.  He explains that transport limitations have been a contributory factor in the hotel’s previous ‘spiral of decline’ (he also mentions past under-investment in the hotel).   

He states a “helicopter service will assist in accelerating our investment plans at Tregarthen's Hotel"  and that “the limitation to maximising occupation of the accommodation at the Hotel is the current transport capacity”…...

“The Helicopter service offers the best option to rapidly increase capacity with a year round reliable service that can operate in the challenging conditions that prevail on the islands. The proposed location at Penzance offers choice, accessibility and diversity to visitors.”

His 1000 word contribution concludes: 

"We wholeheartedly support the proposal for a replacement heliport at Penzance. We see this as having the potential to be a key driver for accelerating the investment at Tregarthen's Hotel and driving such in the islands generally."

"Tourism is the lifeblood of the islands; Scilly's economy is wholly dependent on tourism, the decline in visitors has threatened its whole structure, and it is essential to our and other similar businesses future survival that this decline is halted and reversed."

"Improved transport links and competition in such, that restoration of the helicopter service brings, is an essential step to ensuring the islands' future sustainability and wellbeing."

You can read the full item by following the link here (scroll down to 13 Jan comments)