Helicopters To Fly From Penzance Until October

Penzance heliport

British International Helicopters have today announced that they will continue flying from Penzance heliport until 31st October 2012.

Sainsbury’s, who intend to buy the site following planning approval last November to build a supermarket, had originally stated that they wanted to move onto the site in April.

But BIH Managing Director, Tony Jones says that an agreement has been reached with Sainsbury’s that will allow them to continue using the existing site until October.

British International Helicopters dropped plans for a new heliport at St Erth after widespread local opposition to noise, despite Cornwall Council’s plans for an integrated road and rail transport hub nearly.

The company was making contingency plans to operate the service from Newquay airport.

Tony said, “We are pleased to be able to give existing and new customers certainty regarding our 2012 flight arrangements and be able to reassure them that the service will be uninterrupted from Penzance for another season.

“I would like to thank Sainsbury’s for their flexibility in agreeing to this later date. Throughout our negotiations with them, they have been understanding of both our and the community’s requirements.”

Ben Littman, regional development executive for Sainsbury’s, said: “We were asked by BIH if we would allow Penzance heliport to operate for a further season. We were happy to agree in principle to this as we appreciate that minimising disruption to the service and its passengers is paramount for BIH. It just remains for us to establish the contractual details of the arrangements.”

At a staff meeting before Christmas, Tony told staff he would not be retiring as expected this Spring until plans for a future heliport base had been resolved

In November, the MP for Scilly, Andrew George, criticised Cornwall County Council for taking the decision to close the Penzance heliport during the height of the summer season and before securing a suitable alternative site.

In a statement issued at the time, he said, “The helicopter service brings millions of pounds in to the town. Another supermarket will suck the life blood out of it.”

Isles of Scilly Councillors also voiced their concern over the move to Newquay being brought forward to June.

We understand that BIH has been investigating a site in close proximity to its current base as a future heliport site.

There have also been suggestions that a Cornwall-based helicopter firm has been discussing provision of future links to Scilly should the current service cease operations.