End of an era for British International Helicopters - 01/08/2012
British International Helicopters (BIH) has today (1 August 2012) confirmed it is to close its
domestic helicopter passenger route between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, effective 1
The company will honour all customer flights booked up until 31 October 2012.
with a flight booked after 1 November will be given a full refund. The closure of the heliport
will affect employees and the company has entered a formal redundancy consultation
Managing Director Tony Jones, said: “The route has run for 49 years so this is an extremely
sad announcement for BIH, its employees and its customers - in fact the whole of West
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Unfortunately we had no alternative.”
The decision to close the route was finally triggered by legal action taken by Tesco and two
private individuals. These legal actions challenge the process undertaken by Cornwall
Council and the Secretary of State when planning permission was granted.
These legal challenges at this very late stage of the planning process have prevented BIH
from completing the sale of the land to Sainsbury’s and created too many uncertainties for
the passenger service to continue. BIH has repeatedly stated publicly that the land needed
to be sold in a reasonable time frame to release the capital required to continue the service.
The planning application for the redevelopment of the heliport site was submitted in March
2010 and in October 2011 Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee voted to
consent planning permission for a store, Park & Ride and business units. The decision was
then referred to the Secretary of State as a matter of course. However a challenge was
made to that decision which resulted in a delay of six months which BIH could ill-afford.
BIH remained committed to finding a suitable relocation site in West Cornwall. However, at
the end of 2011 BIH reluctantly withdrew their application to relocate the heliport to St Erth
on the back of mounting public and stakeholder pressure. This application cost over
Since starting this process in 2010, financial pressure on the company has been
compounded by the falling number of air passenger visitors to the Isles of Scilly. At the same
time the majority of costs have risen.Taking all these factors into account, BIH has no alternative other than to close the route
from 1 November 2012. From that date the heliport will be safely secured for the
British International Helicopters Ltd To Continue Flying From Penzance Until 31 October 201 - 25/01/2012
Having reached an agreement in principle with Sainsburyís, British
International Helicopter Services Ltd (BIH) today (16 Jan 2012)
announced it will be continuing its scheduled services for the
summer season from the Penzance heliport until 31 October 2012.
Tony Jones, Managing Director, British International Helicopters,
said: "We are pleased to be able to give existing and new
customers certainty regarding our 2012 flight arrangements and be
able to reassure them that the service will be uninterrupted from
Penzance for another season.
"I would like to thank Sainsburyís for their flexibility in
agreeing to this later date. Throughout our negotiations with
them, they have been understanding of both our and the communityís
Ben Littman, regional development executive, Sainsburyís, said: "We
were asked by BIH if we would allow Penzance heliport to operate
for a further season. We were happy to agree in principle to this
as we appreciate that minimising disruption to the service and its
passengers is paramount for BIH. It just remains for us to
establish the contractual details of the arrangements."