Cornwall’s longest serving airline, Skybus, celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday with staff and invited guests gathering at Land’s End Airport to mark the important milestone.
A quarter of a century after operating its first ever paid-for passenger flight from Land’s End to St Mary’s, Skybus is launching a new special offer for customers this autumn.
When Skybus began flights in 1984 there was just one pilot and one small aircraft – the airline has offered flights to the Scillies ever since. Today, the airline operates six aircraft and more than 57,000 people fly with Skybus every year from five UK airports including Land’s End, Newquay, Exeter, Bristol and Southampton. Last year the airline added the French destination of St Brieuc in Brittany to its route network.
A celebratory drinks reception and canapés was organised by Skybus’ parent organisation, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company at Land’s End Airport. The event was attended by Andrew George, MP for west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and included a special presentation by the company chairman, Andrew May, to the first ever ticketed passenger – Mr Alan Sibley.
May commented: “It is wonderful to be celebrating Skybus’ 25th anniversary. On behalf of the current board of directors, I pay tribute to our predecessors who had the vision, determination and drive to start what’s become a splendid airline. We’re all very proud of the contribution it makes to island life and the role it plays in the transport infrastructure. I think people in Cornwall and on the islands understand how important the service is to their lives.”
Over the 25 years, Skybus has carried nearly one million customers and two million bags. As well as passengers, the airline carries the post between the Scillies and the mainland for the Royal Mail. Whilst tourism accounts for 85% of the islands’ income and Skybus plays a significant role in getting visitors to and from the Scillies, it is used frequently by local residents year-round.
Jeff Marston, chief executive of Skybus, added: “Skybus is a life-line service that has been phenomenally successful and has changed beyond recognition over the years. It’s fantastic to be marking our 25th anniversary and showing just how important the airline is in transport links with the Scillies – we’re firmly committed to the islands and this will always be our priority.”