End Of An Era In Cornwall

The curtain will fall on five decades of a helicopter service linking the Cornish mainland with Scilly on Wednesday31st October, when the final commercial flight with British International Helicopters (BIH) leaves the islands. 

BIH announced in August how it planned to close its domestic helicopter passenger route between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, from November 1. 

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 company said a number of factors, including a drop in passenger numbers and commercial reasons, were behind the decision. 

Around 50 people have been made redundant as a result of the closure. 

LISTEN HERE: Matthew Clarke reports on the loss of the service.

It means the archipelago will be left with Skybus plane flights six days a week, and the seasonal Scillonian ferry service - both run by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group. Some residents described the move as "a kick in the teeth'', while others voiced concerns that Steamship Group would take advantage of the monopoly on access to Scilly by hiking up prices. 

The last flight will leave the Penzance heliport at 17:30.