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World's first electric planes could be used on Isles of Scilly

World's first electric planes could be used on Isles of Scilly

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 5:16pm 26th September 2019.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

The Isles of Scilly could be the first destination for the world’s first electric passenger aeroplanes.

That is the belief of the chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly who said that it could revolutionise travel to the islands.

Electric aeroplanes are still in their infancy and current technology means that batteries take up a large proportion of the weight of aircraft.

But as they are said to be suited to short flights they could be a good fit for the Scillies.

Councillor Robert Francis, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, revealed the possibility in a presentation to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

He said: “We could have the first passenger electric plane in Scilly.

“The short trip from Cornwall to Scilly could be the first places that it could be trialled. It is very exciting really.”

But he revealed that the Isles of Scilly could have a rival aiming to use electric planes as well.

Cllr Francis said: “It is the same with Orkney. There is a little bit of a race between us.”

st martins isles of scilly

Loganair, which operates flights to Orkmey, is already looking at using electric aircraft and is working with Cranfield University on the idea with an aim to launch electric flights from 2022.

Cllr Francis also told the LEP that the council is currently reviewing all of its transport arrangements.

He said the council was looking forward to helicopter flights resuming next year and having to look at transport in terms of the islands’ resilience.

Cllr Francis said the islands had “suffered greatly” since 2012 when the helicopter service stopped running from Penzance.

But he said there was also a need to review the Scillonian ferry service and highlighted a breakdown in August which put the ferry out of action for four days.

There was a need to not only improve passenger services but also freight and Cllr Francis suggested there could be a need for new ships which could carry both.

He said: "We are in the process at the moment of finalising a strategic outline business case for our whole transport offer. Not just the air but our whole transport and connectivity up the line. There is a lot to do.”

He added: "We have got a lot of issues and we need to look at the whole package or transport and future resilience and try and find a way forward so we can have a real all year round service so that our economy and community can benefit from that."

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