For 48 years the helicopter was a lifeline to the Isles of Scilly, transporting visitors, islanders, mail and small items of freight to and from the islands. The service was the springboard for the development of the islands’ visitor economy.
Helicopter services to the Isles of Scilly started in 1963 from Land’s End aerodrome and relocated to Eastern Green, Penzance in 1964, where the service operated reliably, profitably and successfully until 2012.
Since the helicopter service stopped, there has been a decline in visitor and air passenger numbers to the Isles of Scilly, which has impacted both west Cornwall and the islands’ local economies. Residents, visitors and businesses have all been affected by the loss of the service and there have been calls for its reinstatement ever since.
For many years the helicopters, the fixed-wing planes and the ferry worked in harmony – the various services complemented each other and provided a resilient transport system. The new service hopes to recreate this situation and bring benefits to all the communities that it will serve through providing greater travel choice and flexibility.