Scilly’s Passenger Numbers Are ‘Well Up’ This Summer

scillonian summer 2014If you think Scilly seems busier than last year, the Steamship Company’s latest passenger figures would indicate that you’re right.

Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith says the numbers of Skybus and Scillonian passengers are up significantly compared to 2014.

Rob says journeys on the combined air and sea routes have risen by 7.6% on June last year and 11% on the calendar year.

And he says bookings for the rest of the summer are also “well up.”

The Scillonian starts its programme of Sunday sailings this weekend.

Rob says it’s not as popular as the Saturday services because of the traditional start and end of the holiday week, so there’s plenty of space. But he says Sundays are proving popular for day trips, particularly if the weather is good.

Yesterday, Skybus announced the new winter timetables, which have addressed concerns over the difficulty in making the 10am train from Penzance to Truro and London.

Rob says they’re also going to alter Newquay flight times in the future, so visitors and locals can make better use of connections with the low cost carrier Flybe.

They offer flights to London and other UK cities.

The company will try to adjust summer schedules to dovetail with other carriers but some operators, like Easyjet, present a challenge as they only operate routes on selected days.

Rob has decided against a ticket price increase, despite the Islands’ Council adding an estimated £100,000 in annual costs to Skybus after they hiked their airport fees.

In a surprise vote earlier this year, the Council doubled the recommended increase in St Mary’s Airport landing charges to 10%.

Councillors did it to help generate money for the cash-strapped airport.

Rob promises that the company won’t pass the extra cost onto passengers. He feels that’s the correct thing to do, as they’d already published their fares.

But as today’s figures reveal that passenger numbers are rising, Rob wants the Council to cut landing charges when and if they reach the volume of customers required to meet airport income targets.

Rob says that would be the fair thing for the Council to do and it could mean flights would become cheaper if passenger numbers increase further.

He says stimulating the market is in everybody’s interest.

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