In less than three months time all helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly will cease. British International Helicopters (BIH) says it cannot afford to run the route which has been going for almost 50 years.
The company blames the decision on a delay in selling the heliport at Penzance. In 2010 BIH announced it was selling its base in Penzance to a well known supermarket and moving its operations to Lands End and Newquay. It said the changes were needed to save money and cut journey times.
Although plans were approved by the local authority, public objections to the plans have caused a delay in the planning operation - time Dorset-based BIH says it can't afford.
– – BRITISH INTERNATIONAL HELICOPTERS MANAGING DIRECTOR, TONY JONES
The route has run for 49 years so this is an extremely sad announcement for BIH, its employees and its customers - in fact the whole of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Unfortunately we had no alternative.
The helicopters carry around a third of passengers with the Scillonian passenger ferry from Penzance and aeroplanes from St Just Airport, near Landsend, also taking passengers to the Isles.
Visitors to the Scillies have reacted with shock to the news.
– Sue Ridley
Such a shame as we were going to take our children back to the scilly isles next year via the helicopter service to repeat a trip we made 2 years ago because we had enjoyed it so much.
– Louise Loughlin
It's a shame for the Isles of Scilly. At least they have still got the ferry service from Penzance.
The company will honour all customer flights booked up until 31 October 2012. Anyone with a flight booked after 1 November will be given a full refund.
The closure of the heliport will affect employees and the company has entered a formal redundancy consultation process.