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  1. ITV Report

'I will put it back': the landowner determined to reinstate Isles of Scilly helicopter service

A helicopter service to the islands had operated for 48 years until it was ended in October 2012. Photo: ITV News

One of the biggest landowners on Isles of Scilly has told ITV News West Country that the islands economy is continuing to suffer because of the lack of a direct helicopter service with the mainland.

A helicopter service to the islands had operated for 48 years until it was ended in October 2012.

Robert Dorian-Smith is now putting up £2 million pounds of his own money to bring back the service to St Mary's and Tresco.

The helicopter service underpinned the whole economy of the Isles of Scilly, from the 1960s until 2012.

We lost it, and the community in Scilly and Penzance have suffered that loss. So I want to put it back, and I will put it back.

– Robert Dorian-Smith
The 15-seater AW139 helicopter will be used to take passengers from Penzance to Tresco and St. Mary's Credit: Penzance Heliport Ltd

He says a reliable transport service is vital for any economy to function, and that public support for the plans have been extraordinary.

The plans include an application to build a new heliport in Penzance adjacent to the former heliport on Eastern Green. Credit: Penzance Heliport Ltd

We've had to adapt, but it hasn't been possible to replace that extraordinary resilience that those helicopters gave us.

It's led to a shorter tourism season, it's affected healthcare, it's affected education, it's effected the economy...

– Robert Dorian-Smith

It's hoped the £2 million private investment will boost the tourism industries of both West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with the project set to be completed in early 2018.

WATCH AGAIN from 2012