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New rescue helicopters 'will reach larger area of UK'

The Department for Transport has said that under the new contract helicopters will be able to reach a larger area of the UK Search and Rescue region within an hour of take-off than is currently possible.

An RAF Sea King helicopter that will no longer be used under the new contract. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

It added that, based on historic incident data, it is estimated there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20 percent (from 23 to 19 minutes).

Presently, approximately 70 percent of high and very high-risk areas within the UK SAR region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85 percent of the same area would be reached within this time frame.

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Campaigners for Isles of Scilly helicopter service meet Transport Minister

Isles of Scilly helicopter service Credit: ITV Westcountry

A campaign group met the Transport Minister today after yesterday's closure of the Isles of Scilly helicopter service.

Norman Baker said he was 'convinced' of the importance of maintaining good transport links between the islands and the mainland, and was 'happy' to discuss how to maintain them further.

The 'Friends of Scilly Transport' group wants 'lifeline status' for the service. They say the islands could be cut off in winter without the helicopter service.

End of Scilly helicopter flights

It was the end of a chapter today for the Isles of Scilly - the last daily helicopter flight taking people to the mainland. British International Helicopters operated the world's oldest passenger service.

The company blames rising costs and falling passenger numbers.

It brings to a close nearly 50 years of helicopter travel between Penzance and the islands.

Duncan Sleightholme reports:

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Helicopter flights to Isles of Scilly end after 50 years

British International will cease flying later today. Credit: ITV Westcountry

Daily helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly are ending today.

It brings to a close nearly 50 years of travel between Penzance and the islands. British International Helicopters blames rising costs and falling passenger numbers.

The last flight will leave Penzance heliport at 5:30 this evening.

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