Airport improvements recognised; lease to be surrendered

Following a recent audit, we are delighted to announce that St Mary’s Airport will be removed from the ‘Special Attention’ notification listing issued in October 2013.
The Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) listing identified the airport as an aerodrome requiring special attention, meaning that operations were subject to more regulatory oversight. However, subsequent revisions to the management and operating structure, together with the development of a new Safety Management System (SMS), have ensured that the airport is now operating to the standards expected by the CAA.
Cllr Ted Moulson, Vice-Chairman of the Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee said, ‘This assessment is good news for the islands’ residents, businesses and visitors and rewards the hard work and commitment from the dedicated staff at the Airport. There is still work to be done to further improve airport operations, but the conclusions of the recent audit demonstrate the big improvement to the Airport’s operations and procedures and should provide confidence to anyone using the service.’ 
This news follows the CAA's recent completion approval for the Airport Development Project. The Council commissioned project was undertaken to improve facilities and infrastructure and to ensure compliance with CAA regulations, thereby keeping the airport safe and open for business. 
We are delighted that the CAA has approved all of the steps the Council of the Isles of Scilly has implemented and the further news that our operations have been removed from 'Special Attention'. This brings the upgrade of the aerodrome to a conclusion and will ensure a safe and reliable service for years to come. 
It is important to build on the improved facilities and operations to further enhance the service that the airport provides. We are therefore exploring solutions that will ensure the future viability and financial security of this important function. The Council will surrender the current lease to enable the exploration of other delivery options or sources of income. Cllr Ted Moulson said, ‘This will provide an opportunity for an independent operator to explore running alternative extra routes and expand operations.’
Cllr Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council said, ‘The airport is in its strongest position for years, with upgraded facilities and improved operations and procedures. We can thank our excellent airport team and fire crew for the huge improvements they have brought to the running of the airport. However, we must be realistic about the ongoing costs of maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure. The recent essential work on the Airport Development Project was only possible with the benefit of significant external investment in the form of EU grants. We cannot assume that such funding will always be available. It is vital that the airport generates sufficient revenue to ensure facilities are fit for purpose and comply with the safety requirements of the CAA. As things stand the ongoing investment required to safely operate the airport is not possible using the current model. This is why we have decided to seek a more effective and viable solution.’ 


Publishing date: 
Wednesday, 23 September, 2015