Thursday, July 19, 2012

Work starts on airport scheme

MAJOR development work is under way at Land's End airport after its owner, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, revealed plans for a new terminal building.

 In a bid to secure the long-term future of the airport, the Skybus fixed-wing plane operator bought the 90-acre site earlier this year, aiming to demolish the existing building and replace it with a larger version.

The old air traffic control tower has already been razed to the ground, with a temporary replacement now housing the aviation team.

Jeff Marston, the company's chief executive, said: "Land's End airport is a core part of our business and we wanted to secure its long-term future.

"The new facilities will enable us to provide an improved passenger experience, fresh and vibrant surroundings, and the option for businesses to use the space for events, with a café area which can cater for up to 30 people."

Reluctant to reveal the complete bill for the purchase and building works, Mr Marston said the total was between £1m and £2m.

"This is the gateway to the Isles of Scilly and this is the first experience people are going to have of their holiday to the islands," he said.

"We need to set the right tone and we hope the facility does that."

Saying the overhaul had been planned for a number of years, Mr Marston made it clear the moves were not linked to the future of helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly.

British International Helicopters announced earlier this year that it would be moving operations from Penzance to Newquay for the "foreseeable future" after selling the Eastern Green heliport site to the supermarket company Sainsbury's.

"We haven't been asked to provide any helicopter operational cover," said Mr Marston. "We haven't made any provision for the future to allow helicopters."

Foundation works are part of the plans being carried out at the airport this month as part of a 40-week programme.

In August the steel framework of the new terminal will begin to take shape. When completed, it will house a café with views towards Longships Lighthouse, internet access and a children's play area.

The existing terminal building will not be demolished until April next year when its replacement is complete.

The work is not expected to affect flights.

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