Support Decreasing For Sunday Flying

airport may 2015A businessman who owns two major Scilly tourism businesses has changed his mind on Sunday flying.

Two years ago Clifford Freeman, the owner of Scilly Self Catering and St Mary’s Hall Hotel, backed the introduction of a seven-day air service.

And that was the view of the Council in October 2013, when members agreed by 14 votes to 2 to allow the airport to open on Sundays.

At the time it was felt that the move would boost the holiday market by allowing visitors flexibility in weekend breaks, which would allow them to return home in time for work on Monday.

In September 2013, the Council estimated that Sunday flying would cost the airport £82,000 annually but Tresco Estate Owner Robert Dorrien Smith calculated that an additional 5,000 passengers per year would cover those costs.

But Clifford says his experience of recent Bank Holidays is that people leave on the Monday, rather than travelling back on the Tuesday.

That’s reflected in his occupancy this forthcoming weekend and he fears that visitors would adopt the same approach if Sunday flights started, travelling back on Sunday instead.

That could leave empty beds at the end of the weekend.

Clifford doesn’t think that the summertime Sunday sailings have the same impact in discouraging a Sunday night stay, because of the journey time.

Earlier this year, the Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith said he was still open to the idea of Sunday flying but stakeholders would have to commit to supporting it.

And the loss of support by one of the islands’ biggest operators could now mean the seven-day services will be less likely.

If you’re traveling through Cornwall by train as part of your journey to and from Scilly this weekend, you’ll face disruption.

A three-day strike by First Great Western railway workers will go ahead after talks failed to reach an agreement.

The RMT union members will walk out tomorrow in a dispute over the introduction of the new high-speed trains. The train operator says they don’t intend to shed positions when the new service is introduced.

The RAC expects an extra 14 million vehicles on mainland roads this weekend because of the strike and due to the falling cost of petrol.

23 Responses to Support Decreasing For Sunday Flying

  1. Joan Parker - Carr. September 12, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Adrian J,G. Davis

    Thank you for your clear and definitive explanation of the problem.

    It was the only response that is worthy of acknowledgement.

  2. Jeff Eastick September 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Not quite sure how Joan can compare facilities at Heathrow and JFK with those available on Scilly. I can only presume she has never visited the Islands so would suggest she rectifies that at earliest possibility.

  3. Thomasina Cairns September 11, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Joan , I think your question is self explanatory , you are seriously making a comparison
    between Lands End /Scilly to J F K & London ? Have you travelled to & from the islands ?
    How you could possibly make any correlation between the two modes of flight makes me believe either you have never flown to the islands or that you have no concept of the difficulties involved in running this small air link .

  4. Merlot September 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    And I bet the cost of your flights London to New York are not much more expensive than Exeter to St Mary’s, thanks to the monopoly that is Skybus

  5. Adrian J,G. Davis September 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Dear Joan P-C,
    Neither !
    The answer to your question is down to our longest runway being 600M (with only sea and cliffs as over/ under shoot one end!) and LHR having up to 3902 m ( yes –nearly Four kilometers with flat geography either end) which makes landing any fixed wing A/C a different ball game!

    If you want to come to a small Island safely you will always be constrained by the Geography–‘automatic landings,’ need loooong runways and even ‘heli’ pilots need to eyeball the last few feet and cannot land in zero visibility.
    Adrian Davis

  6. Joan Parker - Carr. September 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    I fly regularly from my home in London to my home in New York.

    I have been is pea soupers / mist/ poor visibility on more than one occasion.

    I ask the question, If Heathrow and John Kennedy can cope, why is there such a problem with your islands?

    Is it poorly equiped aircraft or ground facilities?

  7. Richard Hollingsworth September 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    We are about to make our 4th trip in four years on Monday (from Lincolnshire). We are staying Monday until Friday because our Saturday’s are committed and we can’t travel on the Sunday. We may not be typical but as with our three previous trips we would have stayed a day longer had there been a Sunday service.

  8. Peter September 3, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Ewart: 100% agree. I’m no expert on aviation matters, but I can’t see much hope of improving the ability of planes to land in such a foggy and windy climate. So, if people can’t be confident of returning to the mainland on Sunday, they won’t book. The new EGNOS technology which I believe is being installed later in the year (forgive me if wrong) might, I understand, help but only a little. Of course, Land’s End is often fog-bound as well, and Newquay Airport is a pain, so we need flights from more distant airports, so bigger planes, so longer runways, which are better aligned to the prevailing winds, but I’ve covered this fruitlessly so many times here before. The short break/weekend break market is now central to UK tourism, and without the ability to compete in this market with other UK resorts (that’s what Scilly is – a resort), Scilly is doomed. The days of the week or fortnight holiday are gone, as is the golden age of 20 or 30 years ago. Scilly must change, but too many Scillonians are awaiting the return of the financial good times which were nothing but a blip in the history of islands which have otherwise been a subsistence economy since recorded history began.
    Carole Cilia: Yes, the transport system IS run purely for tourism! Without tourists arriving in Scilly you have no income. Every single person living in Scilly is dependent on tourism, most directly, a few indirectly, the latter only being able to earn a living by providing services to residents who earn directly from tourism. Scilly has no significant exports. The few flowers that now leave the islands are largely a by-product of tourism. It’s not just the transport system that is run purely for tourism; Scilly is run purely for tourism.

  9. Carole Cilia September 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Once more islanders are not considered important in the equation. The transport system is run purely for tourism rather than for us to get to and fro to the mainland.

  10. Ewart September 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Short term breaks will only be viable, when you can ensure people who travel to the Islands can rely on getting to and from the Islands on the days they have selected.
    Until travelling in all weather conditions can be assured, this is unlikely to be achieved.
    Sunday flying is not the real issue. It is getting to and from the Islands at the times witch
    is suitable to you.

    • Ewart September 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Sorry readers,if any? witch should be WHICH

      • High Lanes Drifter September 3, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        I read it and assumed you were exhibiting appropriate deference to the Dear Leader, who we all know is properly equipped to fly by means of her broomstick if she should choose not to stride to the mainland.

        • Adam Morton, St.Martins September 5, 2015 at 9:30 am

          I should like to hear the editors definition of moderation. I feel that a couple of stories have been allowed to get out of hand of late.

  11. mainland visitor September 2, 2015 at 7:41 am

    September 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    £100 return from Newquay don’t think so £210 last time I looked

    Well done Beatrice – thank you for spotting my typo. My maths are not so good either.

  12. Emily September 1, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Have you ever tried trying to book 1 or 2 nights on St Mary’s? We have and it’s virtually impossible, I tried over 30 venues – small hotels, large hotels, b&b, guest houses. I was thinking we would have to change our plan but luckily a b&b which usually insists on 3 nights had a 1 night gap and let us take it. We had a week booked on an off island but had an extra day so thought we would come and stay on St Mary’s which we hadn’t done before in our 35 years of visiting. This year we stayed in Cornwall instead when we had an extra day – it was easier!

  13. mainland visitor September 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Not sure about Newquaygreen’s comment.

    Allow £100 return trip from Newquay, allow £75 per day accomodation food etc so £250 per person, £500 per couple?

    I am afraid my income would not allow me to spend. £500 for a weekend break.

    Would be interested to know where his info came from. and if he can put quantify it?

    • Beatrice September 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      £100 return from Newquay don’t think so £210 last time I looked

  14. Newquaygreen August 31, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    There are many who live in Cornwall and Devon who would come for the weekend, arrive late Friday and get the later flights back on Sunday ready for work on Monday. Short breaKs are the way to go and not flying Sunday is just plain silly.

    • Mrs E Windsor September 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      And not forgetting all the locals who would like the opportunity to escape for a weekend when the boat stops

  15. Richard August 30, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I would expect people to book weekly accommodation and so are more likely to be booking Saturday to Saturday rather than staying eight days and leaving on a Sunday. They wouldn’t stay more days being able to fly on Sunday, just stay Sunday to Sunday instead.

    We enjoy coming to Scilly and experiencing a slightly slower pace of life, including reduced services on a Sunday. The journey home involves us to get back to the mainland on Saturday, stay the night locally on the mainland and then travelling home to Kent on the Sunday.

    The only downside I can see is not being able to get your Sunday paper on a Sunday, however it’ll be the same news reading it on Monday instead…..

    Best wishes to everyone on the islands, our favourite place to be……

    • Suncream August 30, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Just because the lack of service suits you does not mean that it suits everyone. For those of us with homes here the lack of Sunday service is a huge inconvenience and means we get to spend less time with family. Why should our lives be kept in aspic so that you can be nostalgic about a slower pace of life? What you perceive is an illusion. Scilly has just as much modern bureaucracy as anywhere else in the UK.

      I also disagree with the logic in this article. Clearly people going away for the bank holiday will either go away for the week or they will aim to be back at work on the Tuesday. Similarly, Sunday flights will allow people to spend a week here Sunday to Sunday or stay for 2 nights and enjoy a weekend away without taking leave. The latter group would camp or stay in hotel rooms that allow short stays, they would spend money on food, drink and other items, thereby boosting the economy for everyone. They might then return for a longer trip. Trying to force people to stay longer than works for them just results in fewer visitors.

  16. nikki301 August 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    That’s a real shame. Most people in regular jobs on the mainland take a week’s holiday maximising time off away from Friday/Saturday to the following Sunday, but if you come to the Scillies you lose a day away as you have to return on the Saturday. For those of us coming for school half terms it’s really annoying having to leave early on the Saturday – we don’t have the flexibility to stay until the Monday! Sorry, but it just feels like you are stuck in another century.