Pilots for Isles of Scilly Skybus vote to strike 

The Isles of Scilly Skybus is going to be affected by pilots striking over pay. 

Skybus is the Isles of Scilly’s own scheduled airline with flights from Exeter, Newquay and Land’s End. 

The 19-seater plane is the fastest year-round service to get to and from the Isles of Scilly. It takes an hour from Exeter, half an hour from Newquay, and 20 minutes from Land’s End. 

Independent Pilots Association is an association and trade union for professional pilots. According to a statement from the IPA’s general secretary, Joel Stansfield, industrial relations between Isles of Scilly Skybus Limited and members of the IPA who fly for the company have “become further fractured”.

Mr Stansfield said members have voted in favour of taking some form of industrial action, up to and including strikes. This will be in the form of a 24-hour walkout on 5 August. He said further strike dates will be announced.

Joel Stansfield said relations have become fractured Credit: Joel Stansfield

He said: “Our members called for a ballot for industrial action due to Isles of Scilly Skybus Limited circumventing an agreement between the IPA and the company, which states that the parties will negotiate all elements of pay for the pilot workforce. Rather than follow this agreement, the company has chosen to impose a pay award – without consultation – that falls far short of inflation and the needs of our members.

“It is regrettable that the local community will be negatively impacted by any industrial action. These pilots are part of the community and often know their passengers. However, what we have found encouraging is the support the local community has given our pilots, who are already amongst the lowest paid in the aviation industry.

“It is disappointing that after repeated attempts to speak further with Isles of Scilly Skybus Limited and reach a settlement that is suitable for all parties, we are now left with no alternative but to advance to industrial action. We remain available and are open to further discussions with the company should they be prepared to improve their pay offer.” 

Isles of Scilly Steamship Company Ltd runs the Skybus. A spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the outcome of the ballot and the IPA's continued insistence on a 12.5% pay award for their members. This is despite a 5% increase last year and the offer of another 5% increase this year.

"Skybus is a vital part of the lifeline link on Scilly but because of significant seasonal fluctuations, rising costs of aviation parts and high fuel costs it will be challenging to maintain profitability for the forthcoming year. Our duty is to all Skybus employees, safeguarding the financial security of the airline and keeping fares as low as possible for the 70,000 visitors who fly with us each year.

"We recognise the challenges posed by the cost of living crisis, and as a business we are not immune to those pressures. But what we cannot do is make unsustainable pay awards against a backdrop of rising costs."

Mr Stansfield and Isles of Scilly Steamship Company Ltd could not comment on the Skybus schedule but an up to date timetable can be viewed here.