The new Penzance Helicopters service to the Isles of Scilly is set to launch on schedule next month, despite a delay in delivery of the new AW139 helicopter.

Following its manufacture in Italy, the helicopter had been on a short-duration contract in China. Its delivery to Cornwall, however, has been held up due to export restrictions linked to Coronavirus.

In the meantime, to ensure there is no delay to the service which is due to begin on March 17, operator Sloane Helicopters is providing a back-up aircraft from its fleet until the AW139 arrives.

The new service will fly direct to St Mary’s and Tresco from the new, purpose-built heliport in Penzance, six days a week.

Sloane MD, Jeremy Awenat, said: “We see it as our responsibility to deliver a robust and resilient direct airlink – and despite unforeseen international delays, our commitment stands and the service for Scilly will launch as planned.

“Our Penzance Helicopters service will be of great benefit to both islanders and visitors – much improving connectivity to the Isles of Scilly.”