Scheduled helicopter flights to Scilly Isles axed.

Status
Not open for further replies.

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,981
From the BBC:

Penzance to Isles of Scilly helicopter flights ending

A helicopter service from Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly is to end, its operators have announced.

British International Helicopters (BIH) is to end its service from Penzance, which has run since 1964, in November.

The company blamed the decision on uncertainty created by legal challenges to its sale of land to supermarket giant Sainsbury's.

St Ives' Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George has called the announcement "appalling" and a "disaster".

'Kick in the teeth'

BIH has to move from its 15-acre site at the end of October because of the Sainsbury's deal.

It planned to use the proceeds from the sale to buy new aircraft and bid for new business.

But the company, which has not operated services this week, said the decision to close the route was "finally triggered by legal action taken by Tesco and two private individuals".

It said potential delays caused by the challenges "created too many uncertainties for the passenger service to continue".

BIH said the closure would affect employees and that a formal redundancy consultation process had begun with staff.

The independent Cornwall councillor for Porthleven and Helston South, Andrew Wallis, said BIH's decision was a "kick in the teeth" for the communities of the islands and west Cornwall.

He said: "To me, this is two supermarkets squabbling over a piece of land and the communities of Penzance and the Isles of Scilly are the ones to miss out."

Mr George said he had called for an emergency meeting over the link.

Conservative-Independent led Cornwall Council said it was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to end the service, which has offered as many as 40 flights a day and is thought to be used by up to 130,000 people a year.

It said: "We are keen to continue to talk to BIH about the future of the helicopter service and to see what support can be provided."

The Isles of Scilly Council said it was "deeply saddened" at the move.

The unitary authority said it was pleased services would operate until the end of October because it "ensures there will be no disruption to the holiday season".

It added that its immediate priority was to "ensure the stability of our transport infrastructure" and that "steps are already under way" to do so.
Tresco, Isles of Scilly.

The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago of about 150 islands and rocks some 28 miles (45km) south-west of Cornwall with a population of about 2,200.

The Scillonian ferry service to the islands from Penzance remains, as do Skybus aeroplane services from Bristol, Exeter, Land's End, Newquay and Southampton.

Both are operated by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.

Group chairman Andrew May said the company would work with the Scillonian community in an attempt to compensate for BIH's pulling out.

Sainsbury's said it was still committed to bringing a store to Penzance.

BIH said anyone with a flight booked after 1 November would be given a full refund.

A helicopter on the route suffered a fatal crash in July 1983.

Twenty people were killed when the aircraft, en route from Penzance, crashed in thick fog off St Mary's. Four passengers, including two children, and two crew members survived.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

kylemore

Member
Joined
28 Aug 2010
Messages
934
What with the continuing saga over the upgrade to the shipping service it's a bit of a disaster.
 

rogACE

Member
Joined
23 Jul 2007
Messages
46
the crash was when operated by British Airways' (BA) ownership of the routes. Then Bristow took over then became BIH.

yes this is a real blow to both communities and the supermarkets greed is
rather unpalatable.

same big legal wrangles happened in another west country town of
Seaton East Devon Tesco v Sainsburys
was very nasty...Tesco won.
 

83G/84D

Established Member
Joined
28 Oct 2011
Messages
5,291
Location
Cornwall
What with the continuing saga over the upgrade to the shipping service it's a bit of a disaster.

The Penzance proposed harbour redevelopment is down to NIMBY's who are mostly "up country" people coming down to Cornwall and interfering, if you believe some of the local's.

What West Cornwall needs is investment in the right places and a Harbour redevelopment is a step in the right direction if done correctly and sympathetically to the area.Some people will sadly moan about anything and everything and as a result Cornwall lost out on a grant for the planned Harbour works as no-one could agree in the timescales involved.

What Cornwall dosen't need (IMO) is loads more out of town shopping areas and large scale housing being built on green field sites destroying the countryside Cornwall is renowed for, and at the expense of shops in towns which are closing at an alarming rate. Truro is a prime example of this.

Anyway rant over!
 

aylesbury

Member
Joined
3 Feb 2012
Messages
622
Saw the heliport in March when I was staying in Penzance and it looked a large parcel of land ,and prime for develepment to a supermarket .Agree that Penzance does not need another out of town development what it does need is a new bus station ,but withdrawl of the helicopters will seriously hurt the Scily isles economy.The boat looked as though it needed replacement as well so things not looking good .When people from outside an area move in they tend to want to stop any new developments that change their perceived through rose tinted glasses view,especialy in Cornwall.The general view of Penzance that I gained was one of a general run down appearance and that money and initiaves are needed to address the balance.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
27,825
Location
Yorks
Having stayed in Penzance, isn't the heliport already very near to Tesco's and Morrisons ! It seems another supermarket is the last thing needed there to me.

Loved getting the ferry to Scilly though :D
 

Ploughman

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2010
Messages
2,629
Location
Near where the 3 ridings meet
Saw the heliport in March when I was staying in Penzance and it looked a large parcel of land ,and prime for develepment to a supermarket .Agree that Penzance does not need another out of town development what it does need is a new bus station ,but withdrawl of the helicopters will seriously hurt the Scily isles economy.The boat looked as though it needed replacement as well so things not looking good .When people from outside an area move in they tend to want to stop any new developments that change their perceived through rose tinted glasses view,especialy in Cornwall.The general view of Penzance that I gained was one of a general run down appearance and that money and initiaves are needed to address the balance.

I got that impression of Penzance 3 years ago when I used the helicopter service.
We thought that Penzance was a dump and thankfully we were just passing through. Unlike when I stayed there frequently as a kid with relatives in the town back in the 60s.

What this will do to the local island economy I dread to think.
The amount of day tourists using both services to St Mary's and to Tresco will be hard to recover from for the locals.

I take it that the proposed move to Newquay is now out of the question.
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
27,825
Location
Yorks
I think thats a bit unfair on penzance. Yes, its not as 'chocolate box' pretty as some places, but it has some very nice pubs and restaurants and the centre has always seemed busy whenever i've been there.
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,268
Location
Llanelli
I think thats a bit unfair on penzance. Yes, its not as 'chocolate box' pretty as some places, but it has some very nice pubs and restaurants and the centre has always seemed busy whenever i've been there.

I agree. Penzance might not be pretty but it is a friendly town, with a station that is well situated for the centre and the bus station and some lovely pasties!
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
10,015
Location
Liskeard
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-19124771 said:
Tesco has defended a decision to bring a legal challenge over plans to sell a heliport in Cornwall to a rival supermarket.

British International Helicopters (BIH) wanted to sell the Penzance site to Sainsbury's.

BIH said delays caused by the challenge meant it will be ending its services to the Isles of Scilly in November.

Tesco said its move was to secure the services. Cornwall Council said Tesco should reconsider its action.

'Serious implications'

BIH was due to move from the 15-acre site at the end of October because of the Sainsbury's deal, approved by Conservative-Independent led Cornwall Council.

BIH planned to use the proceeds from the sale to buy new aircraft for a new site and bid for new business.

It said the decision to close was triggered by "legal action taken by Tesco and two private individuals".

The uncertainty created by challenges - including Tesco's - meant funds from the sale would not be released in time to secure its future, it said.

In a letter to Tesco seen by BBC News, Chris Ridgers, Cornwall Council economy cabinet member, said he hoped the supermarket firm was "fully aware of the serious implications of its actions".

In the letter dated 3 August, he said helicopters were "a fundamental part of the flying links to the islands", and that the cut would affect the tourism of the islands and west Cornwall.

The Isles of Scilly, including Tresco (above), are about 28 miles south-west of Cornwall
He said: "I ask that you reconsider your company's actions and the implications for the local communities should you leave in place your judicial review."

Tesco said it understood "the value and importance of the Penzance Heliport".

It said: "Its loss would impact local residents, including our staff and customers, as well as other businesses.

"We are challenging Cornwall Council, not the heliport operators.

"The aim of our challenge is to secure the service for the future, not end it."

Tesco communities director Michael Kissman added it was not about stopping a rival store coming into the town.

BIH's service, which has offered as many as 40 flights a day since starting in 1964, is thought to be used by up to 130,000 people a year.

The Scillonian ferry service to the islands from Penzance remains, as do Skybus aeroplane services from Bristol, Exeter, Land's End, Newquay and Southampton.

Sainsbury's said it was still committed to bringing a store to Penzance

Tesco has released a press release on their challenge
 

yorksrob

Veteran Member
Joined
6 Aug 2009
Messages
27,825
Location
Yorks
I agree. Penzance might not be pretty but it is a friendly town, with a station that is well situated for the centre and the bus station and some lovely pasties!

Indeed, although I've yet to find the famous "Miners" pasty with lunch and pudding all in one (Apparently a shop in St Ives is supposed to do them, though they've not had any when I've been there yet !).
 

Xenophon PCDGS

Veteran Member
Joined
17 Apr 2011
Messages
27,072
Location
A semi-rural part of north-west England
I find this very sad news indeed and the helicopter was an excellent way of accessing the islands for holidaymakers, as we have done twice in the past.

Whilst I note the comments with regard to Penzance, it is the Scilly Isles that have lost a mode of transport that brings holiday trade there.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top