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VIDEO: 27% Drop in Visitors Since Penzance Helicopters Stopped

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8:01am 4th March 2014
(Updated 8:01am 4th March 2014)

The end of the helicopter service from Penzance has left the Isles of Scilly "on a precipice."

That is according to campaigners - who want the flights reinstated with government help.

They have been in front of a powerful committee of MPs in London.

Marian Bennett lives on Bryher warned: "The level of fares is remarkably high at the moment and it precludes many visitors from coming.

"We have seen a 27% decline over the last two years in our visitor numbers."

Asked how she had got to parliament for a hearing she replied: "I left on Thursday. I travelled by quad, boat, taxi, plane, taxi, bus, train and I finally got here."

The end of British International Helicopters' service from Penzance to the islands has meant they are now only served by Skybus and the Scillonian. The boat only runs seven months of the year.

Now campaigners have revealed a landowner in Penzance is prepared to find a site to resurrect the helicopter link.

The government says there needs to be a more coherent plan put together before it can consider stepping in to help fund the link, in the same way that it does with the Scottish islands.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer warned a government subsidy could also be difficult. She said: "If we were asked to provide a specific subsidy to create a helicopter service there would be issues around competition.

"Obviously its goal would be to take passengers away from the fixed wing service and the ferry service.

"Before this year we took a look to see what would the difference be if we had a helicopter service in addition to the fixed wing. It was only, on average, four days a year the helicopter could fly and the fixed wing couldn't."

Watch what it was like to fly into Tresco when the service was still running here...

8:01am 4th March 2014

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