Disruption For Scilly Travellers As Mainland Airport Shuts Again

lands end airport apronIslanders and visitors will need to alter some of their travel plans until Friday 3rd January after Skybus has announced that Land’s End Airport will remain closed until then.

The recent rainfall has made the grass surface inoperable. Newquay Airport will be used for flights instead and that could mean added delays for passengers in transit.

It’s a situation many islanders hoped would not be repeated.

Land’s End airport was closed for almost three months due to waterlogging earlier this year. That brought significant disruption for islanders and off-season visitors as well as mail deliveries.

During the spring, Isles of Scilly Council Economic Development staff offered Land’s End airport a lifeline. Staff secured 50% European funding towards the work, estimated to cost around £2m.

In June, the Steamship Company, operators of Skybus, held a public exhibition at the airport to share runway-surfacing plans that they hoped would end waterlogging closures.

But the surfacing, which would have required a closure of the airport in November, was called off ahead of the planned works.

At the time Chairman Andrew May told Radio Scilly news that the reasons for the cancellation of the winter works were “complex.” But he said that drainage improvements, which were undertaken in preparation, would give the airport “more resilience.”

At the time the company felt that the poor weather of winter 2012/13, which caused the three-month airport closure, had been “exceptional.”

It’s uncertain when the rescheduled works will go ahead.

Diana Mompoloki of the Council of the Isles of Scilly says no contractor has been appointed yet as tender processes have not been completed.

Diana believes that the company still intends to access the grant money for the work, which would possibly be carried out in March. She says the actual work would take four weeks but the contractors need to be onsite for longer.

In the meantime, there’ll be temporary measures put in place to deal with post, which is flown through Land’s End.

Euan Rodger of St Mary’s Post office says today’s mail, and the post which should have arrived on St Mary’s on Saturday, is being brought to Scilly by boat and will be delivered tomorrow, New Year’s Eve.

Outbound Mail was being dispatched today at 3pm to reach the mainland by the morning

Isles of Scilly Council staff appear willing to do what it takes to minimize disruption.

Twice this month they have worked on Sundays, normally their rest day, to operate air traffic, fire and baggage facilities at St Mary’s, so that fliers who had been disrupted by weather delays could reach their destination for the holiday period.

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