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.

5 Responses to Disruption For Scilly Travellers As Mainland Airport Shuts Again

  1. Jeff Eastick January 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Well said , Toby.
    I have actually found myself agreeing with Nobby on some of his posts lately , but when it comes to IOSSC he obviously has an agenda that he keeps to rigidly and attacks at any and every opportunity.
    The weather has been foul recently , not just in West Cornwall and Scilly, and is bound to affect flights.My son has just had flight to Newark, NY cancelled at last minute by BA but understands it has not been their fault and is trying again today. On a more local scale , the IOSSC are trying to cope with what has been abnormal weather as best they can and any other Company would have had just the same problems, although I still fail to understand the delays associated with hardening the runway at Lands End.

  2. Toby Lerone January 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Oh look, it’s Mr Nobbs spouting off about the Steamship Company again. How very 2013 of you Nobby.

    There are so many things wrong with your post it isn’t even funny.

    The IOS council officers and Steamship Co worked on obtaining part European funding as part of a long and complex process. That it didn’t happen in November is disappointing, but hardly points to “ISSco chose to do nothing”.

    Wait, what is that out of the window? Ah yes, a Skybus aircraft flying into St Mary’s airport. Pretty sure just Land’s End is temporarily closed due to the waterlogging, with all passengers still being moved through Newquay. High winds are just a part of winter weather, so not sure how you are pinning that on the Steamship Company. Would love to know where you get “lack of pilots” from too, or in what way that has affected flights.

    The Scillonian is always in wet dock at this time of year. What relevance does that have to this discussion? The Gry is only in dry dock because of an accident. Not sure what that has to do with Steamship Co management?

    I sometimes wonder if you are just deliberately obtuse and picky in your moans, but using the wording of the safety briefing, which has said politely “thank you for choosing Skybus” for years confirms once and for all that you are. Yes, we get it, you don’t like the Steamship Co or that they are sole providers of travel to the Islands. Do you have to repeat it in every topic?

    As for whether the Steamship Company management are “fit for purpose”, you are welcome to your opinion, but please do not state it as fact, because I have so very rarely seen you use such a thing as a “fact” that I am no convinced you can tell the difference between a fact and the delusions that come from your angry and negative mind.

    HMG has no interest in your puerile opinions of how the Steamship Company operates. Things happen, the company deals with it. Where in this is the problem exactly?

    Feel free to have a go and defend your unfounded hot air, but for the good of the islands I really wish you would just shut up.


  3. Mr N Nobbs January 2, 2014 at 1:11 am

    The ISSco has had 12months to sort out a hard runway at Landsend, they even had part European funding with the help of the IOS council, but the senior management of the ISSco chose to do nothing.
    So the planes can’t fly due to closed airports, high winds and lack of pilots, the Scillonian is in dry dock, as is the Gry Martha. Good job ISSco management!
    And when you can travel, the safety brief announces “Thank you for ‘choosing’ to fly with Skybus” like we have any bloody choice!.
    The people on the ground at ISSco are brilliant, but the management team are obviously not fit for purpose.
    If I were on the council I would be asking HMG to send in the navy due to the inability of the ISSco management to operate what is essentially a monopolistic essential service.

  4. Jeff Eastick December 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Yet another example of the ‘Scilly delay syndrome’. Why on earth does nothing ever get done on time or ‘as planned’ ?

  5. Alec hicks December 31, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I have spoken to a contractor that said about taking up top surface and mixing with cement and lime relaying at a lot less money, may be mating that let’s the grass grow through, and for the come about the weather being exceptional it rains ever year Alec