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BIH pilot: 'It's vital the helicopter is reinstated'

A former BIH pilot has said that it is vital the helicopter returns to the Isles of Scilly.

Jim Blane, who flew between Penzance and Scilly for British International Helicopters for several years, said there is still demand for the service and the public would definitely use it.

He told ITV News West Country: "The helicopter that's being proposed [by Penzance Heliport Ltd], the capacity would give it about 50,000 a year. We used to carry over 100,000 passengers a year on the helicopter round about the year 2000 and even at its poorest time we were still carrying 70,000 passengers out of Penzance.

Jim added that in his opinion, people prefer the comfort and convenience of a helicopter based in Penzance.

"The number of visitors to the Scillies dropped by about 30% when the helicopter service ended. Some of those passengers have never come back again to travel on the ship or by the Skybus. Many of them will fly by helicopter." He said of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group's pursuit of a judicial review of the planning permission granted for a heliport: "To me it's just a delaying tactic. They have a monopoly, they can do what they like as far as transport is concerned but they are preventing anyone else coming into the market."

Robert Dorrien-Smith recently told The Times that Prince Charles is "fully aware" of the dispute and officials from the Duchy of Cornwall have asked the Steamship Group to drop their opposition to the heliport.

#ISSC #heliport

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