Airport Sunday Opening Saves Island Wedding

St Mary's Airport

An islands’ wedding, planned for the Jubilee weekend, nearly ended in disaster when twenty guests were stranded by fog at Penzance heliport.

But thanks to an unusual Sunday airport opening being granted by the Isles of Scilly Council, a helicopter was laid on to bring the guests over.

The guests were attending the wedding of Nathalie Gardener, daughter of the Council’s Chief Technical Officer, Neville Gardner, and due to take place at 3pm last Sunday.

Dave Page of BIH told us the fog at Penzance meant they had to cancel the last helicopter of the day on Saturday afternoon.

As they were expecting the bad conditions, outbound passengers from St Mary’s had already been moved to earlier flights, leaving just the wedding guests stranded on the mainland.

But he said permission was granted to open the airport especially for a 9.00am flight on Sunday morning.

Dave said it was clear they couldn’t delay the wedding and BIH were happy to help get the passengers over to the Islands in time for the ceremony.

He said it took some organising, with staff having to be brought in for the morning, including firefighters, ground crew and air traffic controllers.

Council spokesperson, George Pearson, said the airport last had a Sunday opening in July 2010, although normal weekday extensions are more common.

He said operators who want to put on a flight outside the usual airport opening hours have to contact the air traffic controller, who then informs the Fire Department and the Airport Management team.

George added: “Where the airport is asked to open out of normal opening hours a separate charge is levied on the operator for each hour that the airport is required to operate.”


2 Responses to Airport Sunday Opening Saves Island Wedding

  1. Steve Att June 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Having been stranded on the islands or trying to get to them – or forced to take a special boat – how can airport opening on a Sunday for wedding guests be justified – who paid for the staff?

  2. Nathalie Murly-Gotto June 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    James and I cannot begin to thank the staff at both BIH and the airports both here and in Penzance enough for their wonderful efforts not only in getting the 25 of our wedding guests who were stuck over night in Penzance to the church on time (!) but also for their unstinting hospitality across the last week in ferrying the best part of the other 110 mainland guests to the islands. The friendliness of the aforementioned is emblematic of the welcome everybody received in the hotels, guesthouses, self catering units, restaurants and (predominantly) pubs over here, and the fact that such a huge percentage of our friends and families have vowed to return to the islands as soon as possible is testament to the fantastic place and community that we all adore so much.

    We realise that BIH will certainly have taken a huge dint in their profits for going to such extreme lengths and are eternally grateful to the company for paying the costs associated with the extra opening of the facilities here and in Cornwall.

    We are also delighted that Greg and Victoria Simpson were reunited after spending the first night of baby Ethan’s life apart, and wish them all of our love and congratulations.

    Thank you to everyone involved.

    Nathalie and James