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Helicopter Route 'Will Close'

Scilly Chopper
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7:00am 22nd August 2012

Hopes the helicopter route to the Isles of Scilly could be saved look like they have been dashed.

It is after Pirate FM revealed Tesco has pulled its objection to British International selling its current base to Sainsbury's.

The helicopter operator insists the deal is vital to raise millions of pounds to keep the loss making service running.

But bosses say there is still another legal challenge from someone else and that means the service will stop at the end of October, bringing to an end almost fifty years of history.

In a statement to Pirate FM BIH said: "A letter to Tesco dated 17 August BIH chairman Peter Shawyer stated that on 14 August the Board confirmed that subject to the withdrawal of all legal challenges, BIH is happy to confirm that the helicopter service between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will continue from November 2012 from an alternative site in Cornwall.

"Between the 14 August and the 17 August, however, it became clear that the remaining legal challenge would not be removed within a suitably short timeframe despite great efforts by a number of people. Consequently in the same letter to Tesco the chairman stated; regrettably, not all legal challenges have been removed BIH therefore have no alternative but to pursue another course of action.

"This course is to cease the passenger service from 1 November 2012. BIH has spent considerable time and money in connection with seeking to continue to maintain the route and now has to focus on the future of the company without the route to the Isles of Scilly. BIH will continue to talk to other potential operators for the route."

But Dick Cliffe from Penzance Chamber of Commerce is not giving up hope. He said: "If we can save the helicopter service it is just going to be such good news for all those employees. Those are really good jobs. It was a disaster for the employees, a complete disaster. So it would be good news for Penzance, good news for the Isles of Scilly and good news for those employees whose livelihoods are wrapped up in it and have been wrapped up in it for decades."

MP Andrew George sounded a note of optimism: "The lawyers acting on behalf of the remaining lodged Judicial Review have confirmed that they would be happy to engage in mediation with all interested parties, including Cornwall Council to find a way of avoiding the necessity of pursuing what might otherwise be an extensive legal process. But we need to make sure that all parties agree on a route map between the legal loggerheads which is stopping progress and the available compromise and conciliation which would provide the ingredients for a workable solution.”

7:00am 22nd August 2012

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