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Weekly fights to save ‘vital’ helicopter service

A weekly newspaper has launched a campaign to save a loss-making helicopter service which has served its local islands for nearly 50 years.

The Cornishman is fighting to save the helicopter which flies between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, providing a vital transport link for the islands.

It is run by British International Helicopters but the company announced it would be axed at the end of October after further delays involving a planning dispute.

The paper is fighting to save it from closure because of the impact this would have across the area, with workers facing redundancy and tourism being hit.

Editor Jacqui Walls said: “We cannot allow this vital service to be lost without a fight.”

The paper’s campaign has been backed by St Ives MP Andrew George, who is contacting local councils, Government ministers and private companies in a bid to prevent the helicopter being axed.

He said: “This campaign is extremely helpful. Demonstrations of public support for this lifeline service is invaluable.”

BIH wants to sell its heliport site to Sainsbury’s for it to build a new supermarket and would then relocate its service elsewhere in Penwith.

The plans for the new store have been approved by Cornwall Council but three legal challenges against it were launched, one by rival supermarket giant Tesco.

The helicopter firm then declared it could not survive further years of delays with selling the land and announced it would ground the loss-making service.