12 JUNE 2017
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Skybus regional carrier owner the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has lodged a judicial review over a council planning decision in February to allow a £2m heliport at Penzance.
The move has led to claims by residents of the Isles of Scilly that the company, which currently has a monopoly in the Scilly transport market, is exploiting its position.
Cornwall Council approved the heliport project after being told services were planned to be provided from Penzance to the islands of St Mary's and Tresco by spring 2018.
The plan, which is being funded by the private owner of Tresco Island, Robert Dorrien-Smith, received more than 2,600 messages of support, and 20 objections. A helicopter service previously ran from the mainland to islands in the Scillies from 1964.
The most recent carrier, British International, ran five flights a day to St Mary's and four flights a day to Tresco but stopped in October 2012, leaving Skybus the sole competitor with its four DHC-6s. In years gone by, Brymon Airways also ran a successful fixed-wing operation from Newquay and Plymouth.
The Steamship Company, which also operates an island passenger ferry, says a reinstated helicopter service would reduce traffic at St. Mary's airport by 25%, putting the future of Penzance Airport and its own business in jeopardy.
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