Passenger Numbers To Scilly Up For First Time Since 2011

skybus twin ottersThe Steamship Company says that their air and sea passenger numbers were up by 4.2% in 2014, which is the first increase since 2011. Nearly 203,000 people travelled to Scilly.

And with 39 cruise ships visiting last year, total visitor numbers are up by 8%.

Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith says the company wants to help build on that growth and they’re hiring more pilots to increase the passenger capacity and launch their “largest-ever flying programme.”

Rob believes this will allow the company to “do their bit” to encourage tourism growth, but adds it needs to be “a huge joint effort” between all the key players in Scilly.

Rob says the 2014 flight figures represent really good news and Scilly’s airline is ahead of the average increases seen by other UK domestic airlines.

The number of people coming to Scilly for holidays by sea has also increased. Scillonian III passenger numbers are up by 6% and that’s not just from day-trippers.

The impact of cruise ship visits indicates that they also provide a good shop window for the islands. Rob says those visitors should be encouraged to come back and become the visitors of the future.

Improved resilience from the newly hard-surfaced Land’s End runway has helped boost bookings. Total air passengers carried by Skybus to Scilly from all airports increased by 12% in the period from August to December 2014, compared to the same time in 2013.

Rob accepts that the superb weather last summer will have played a part in the rise but he says the promotion of Scilly through Islands’ Partnership and Skybus marketing, including special offers, have also played a part in this success story.

He warns that this good year “needs to be converted to a trend” to get a new audience for Scilly for the future.

He’s convinced there’s a case for Sunday flying to increase the short-break market but he says that requires increased resources and the “buy in” of the business sector and the community in Scilly.

The shortage of air traffic controllers has been addressed by the Council and Skybus is hiring pilots. They also need to recruit additional engineers.

The company needs a full season of Sunday flying to make it viable, and that’s become too tight for this year because the service needs marketing to the public. But it remains an option for 2016, says Rob.



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