Sunday Airport Opening Discussed By Councillors

The Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Council says we need to consider opening the airport on Sundays to generate more income.

Mike Hicks made the statement at Thursday’s Planning meeting, during a discussion on plans for St Mary’s airport.

Strategic Investment Manager Diana Mompoloki had told Members that she expected to appoint a company to come up with a detailed design for the works, including the runway and terminal building, as well as hire a project manager, by the end of September.

She said this work was the highest priority for her department as, “we can’t operate without a runway” and there is a narrow time window to access the European funds available.

She said it’s going to be a complex project, requiring the airport to be kept open throughout the work.

Diana said passenger numbers were down 16% on the year, and she said the St Mary’s Boatmen had seen a 40% drop in ticket sales and accommodation occupancy was down a further 5%.

She said we “have to face up to that and not assume it’s just the general economic climate.”

“We have to work out how to make the tourism sector work better” she added.

But Council Chair, Mike Hicks, said we’re planning to put a large amount of money into the airport and none of it is going to raise extra income.

He said Sunday flying had to be part of the development plan and the Council needed to consult with residents, businesses and the operators now, rather than leave it until the work was finished.

Vice Chair of Council, Amanda Martin, agreed saying, “we sometimes talk about the smaller things, rather than the really big issues like Sunday opening.” She said this could make a big difference to our visitors.

Councillor Chris Savill said she felt the mood was changing.

Three years ago, during a tourism consultation, businesspeople on the islands had already started asking for Sunday flying and she felt the case was even stronger now, with a weakening in the economic climate.

 



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