End Of Era For Skybus As First Employee Retires

Mike Vigar

Skybus is marking the end of an era this week with the retirement of their first ever employee.

Mike Vigar arrived at the airline in August 1984, a week before they took delivery of their first Islander aircraft.

And he says things were very different back then.

Skybus had been set up to allow the Scillonian III to be laid up over winter.

Mike says the savings made from not running the ship over winter actually paid for the first aircraft.

But, the service from Land’s End to the Isles of Scilly soon proved popular, and was extended into the summer season, followed by further routes to Exeter and beyond.

From Radio Scilly

Mike Vigar talks to Keri Jones about his 28 years at Skybus

The airline expanded rapidly, taking on larger aircraft, such as the Twin Otters, which are now a mainstay on longer routes to Exeter, Bristol and Southampton.

But Mike says he never intended to run a busy airline. He had been working in Manchester for Lufthansa and BOAC and decided to semi-retire to the family home in Sennen, when he saw an ad in the Cornishman looking for someone to run the service.

He says things just got busier and busier as the years went gone on.

Mike says he’s had to deal with some famous faces on the flights, such as Richard Branson, who chartered aircraft to London during the famous Virgin Challenger Atlantic crossing attempts.

He’s also dealt with Pete Townsend and Harry Secombe, who he said burst into song halfway through a flight to London.

Mike says he has a ‘rogues gallery’ of sick bags signed by famous people.

There have also been more sombre occasions too, such as when Skybus was chartered to take divers to Cork, to retrieve the wreckage of the Air India Boeing 747 which exploded over the West coast of Ireland in 1985.

Mike says that, although the industry has been deregulated in recent years, there’s still a lot of red tape and bureaucracy running an airline and you have to constantly keep on top of regulations.

But he says he’s proud to be part of an organisation that has grown so much and he’ll miss this after 28 years in the job.