Skybus To Expand Services Next Year
Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith says acquisition of an additional Islander aircraft back in July means they can offer even more options than in 2015.
One of the most noticeable changes will be a longer operating day. Flights from the mainland will depart at 8am and the last flights from Scilly will leave as late as 6.15pm.
The 2016 schedule will include additional mid-week services to and from Exeter, with up to five flights being offered on some days.
Rob says Skybus will be able to increase air travel capacity by up to 10% and the company is altering the fare structure to encourage a more even distribution of passengers.
He says there is an “over-dependence” on Saturday travel and that is beginning to distort the planning for future sustainable investments in transport capacity by air and sea.
There is also a ten-fold difference in passenger volumes between the busiest summer period and winter.
The company say they will attempt to flatten the peaks and troughs in demand by incentivising people to travel at quiet times with reduced fares. Tickets will cost more at the most congested times.
Rob says this is standard practice amongst most air and rail operators but he says the range between minimum and maximum fares will be much lower than other transport operators.
The new ‘sophisticated’ pricing will be actively managed so it is responsive to seasonal change.
Skybus say that they will no longer offer a 50% refund of the difference in fares for passengers who are transferring from air to sea. They say it has been “a burden” for hotel customers and confusing for some members of the public when they have been pursuing compensation.
Over the next year the company will be evaluating options for replacing their boats and they’ll investigate possible improvements in the passenger experience at Penzance Quay.
There’ll also be discussions with GWR trains and Flybe over coordination of schedules.
There should be fewer cancellations, too.
Rob says that the weather this summer has been “extraordinary” but he hopes that the new EGNOS system will improve resilience next year.
The navigation technology will mean some flights will be able to operate in conditions that currently prevent flying. Back in July, Rob told us that estimates last year suggested over 400 flights that didn’t operate would have flown if EGNOS had been in place.
The system will become active at Land’s End next spring.