Steamship Boss Says There’s No Demand For New Helicopter Service

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith

The Chief Executive of the Steamship Company doesn’t believe that there’s much demand for the reintroduction of a helicopter service.

Rob Goldsmith says “time will tell if it is a credible prospect” but he believes publicity about restarting the rotary route is being generated by helicopter manufacturers and politicians chasing votes.

MP Andrew George has brokered talks with potential operators and AgustaWestland, who say they are keen to showcase their new aircraft on a real route.

Prospective Conservative MP Derek Thomas has also entered discussions, claiming there’s interest from a national retailer who could support a service.

But Rob says things have moved on.

He says the Steamship Company has put in “a tremendous amount” of investment to improve resilience, including the new hard runway at Land’s End.

They have served the islands for almost a century, are here for the long term and are committed to helping grow the market “in a sensible way,” he says.

Whilst Rob accepts that there are staunch helicopter service fans, he doesn’t think there’s strong enough demand or “a groundswell of support” for the reintroduction of the route.

With reduced visitor numbers, and no extra bed spaces on the islands, there’s no market gap or opportunity for a new operator.

Rob feels it could only come through a “head on” competitive challenge to Skybus, which could be “quite destabilising” at a time when the Steamship Company is trying to provide better, integrated transport services.

But he added that the company has faced competition in the past and is prepared to face it again in the future if necessary.

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