To: The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company,

Over recent months, the debate over helicopter services to the Isles of Scilly has become increasingly bitter. We say it is time for this to stop, before the current situation damages the islands.

We are not against the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, and never have been. The islands need a successful Steamship Company, but that is one focused on its core services.

If the Steamship Company is genuinely convinced that Island Helicopters is the service Scilly needs, they should drop their objections and let Penzance Heliport move forward, allowing the services to compete.

We are astounded that, with the ongoing situation with Island Helicopters, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has felt it appropriate to lodge yet another objection to Penzance Heliport with Cornwall Council.

Besides many factually incorrect and presumptive statements, the assertion that Penzance Heliport is for the “benefit of an individual estate at the sacrifice of other islanders” is a disappointing attempt to damage the integrity of this project.

The Penzance Heliport project has been clear from the start: our aim is to make the Isles of Scilly a better place to live, work and visit – for all of the islands. We believe in growing the size of the market for all, not arguing over how to slice it up.

We hope the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company will listen to the views of islanders, visitors, businesses, our MP, the Minister for Transport and many other friends of Scilly and refocus its attention on its core services, on which these islands rely.

We believe in a strong, cohesive, resilient transport system for the Isles of Scilly. A vital part of this is the core Steamship Company services, and in particular the essential passenger and freight sea services on which the islands depend.

We firmly believe that Penzance Heliport has a key role in the future of transport to Scilly and must never forget that the helicopter services from Penzance since 1964 underpinned the economy of Scilly and enabled growth and resilience.

We would ask the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company to drop its objections to Penzance Heliport, refocus its attention on its core services, and make these services the best they can be.

We are eager to see a new era of cooperation and collaboration on the Isles of Scilly, where Penzance Heliport and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company can work together to provide targeted investment that will ensure maximum resilience and growth for the islands and West Cornwall.

We believe this can best be achieved through strong passenger and freight sea services, a strong fixed wing air service, and a strong helicopter service from Penzance.

We remain absolutely committed to the Penzance Heliport project and the wider island transport system, and hope the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company will join us in a positive future for the islands.

Robert Dorrien-Smith


  1. I absolutely agree that this unpleasant situation could damage the Islands. It is upsetting to read of the tactics which the steamship company is employing to crush any competition. They seem to be completely focused on their own business with no social conscience whatsoever.
    Reading of their investment into the Lands End airport I wished that they had improved the ferry service instead which is badly in need of replacement.
    We have been a frequent and long standing visitors but finally gave up in 2014 after another unpleasant return trip on the ferry (instead of the expensive Skybus flight from Land End which was cancelled due to fog.
    The previous helicopter service never let us down in 15 years (we often visited twice each year). We booked transport for only three visits with the Steamship Company and there were problems on at least one leg of the journey on all three trips.
    We were so looking forward to resuming our holidays to the Islands again this year but have put our plans on hold in the hope that Penzance Heliport will be up and running in 2019.
    There must be so many people like us. We hope a decision is reached very soon so that we can plan our next visit.

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