Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Council comments on Lands End Airport plans.
The IOS Council has briefed Scilly Today on some of the details of the plans to fund a hard runway surface at Lands End Airport.
In the Scilly Today interview Diana Mompoloki (IOS Council) explained that the islands’ Council has extended the contract (for St Mary's Airport) of the runway designers URS, to complete design work for a hard-surface for Land’s End airfield. Topographical studies start this week and it will take up to 12 weeks to draft the designs. The project was estimated to cost around £1.5m and the Council was working with the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company on funding solutions. Diana Mompoloki is quoted as saying any building work would be undertaken at night to minimise disruption at the height of the season, similar to the St Mary’s proposals.
Read more from the Scilly Today article here.
Link to URS here.
The extended closure of Lands End Airport over the winter has caused islanders very considerable hardship and has had a negative impact upon economic activity in Penzance which has been quieter than usual in the accommodation and restaurant sector this winter. It is not a situation businesses in Penzance want to see continue into the tourist season. Whilst Penzance is further from Truro than Newquay Airport it has much better public transport links. When the summer ferry service operates from Penzance, travellers have an alternative mode of travel if weather prevents flights from Lands End and vice versa if the ferry cannot sail.
Dick Cliffe, Chairman of Penzance Chamber of Commerce, said he sees the installation of a hard runway at Lands End as of strategic economic importance to the area. Without it the primary mainland airport serving Scilly would default to Newquay meaning Penwith would be ‘out of the loop’ for air travellers (the majority of travellers to Scilly). This would deprive the area of millions of tourist pounds a year. Furthermore, the longer flight time to Newquay would mean the average ticket price for air travellers to Scilly would increase – undesirable given that transport costs are already an issue for visitors and residents.