St Mary's Airport, Isles of Scilly

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St Mary's Airport
Isles of Scilly Airport
Scilly Isles/St Mary's Airport
St Mary's Airport.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Council of the Isles of Scilly
Serves Isles of Scilly
Location St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Elevation AMSL 116 ft / 35 m
Coordinates 49°54′48″N 006°17′30″W / 49.91333°N 6.29167°W / 49.91333; -6.29167Coordinates: 49°54′48″N 006°17′30″W / 49.91333°N 6.29167°W / 49.91333; -6.29167
Website Isles of Scilly Airport
EGHE is located in Isles of Scilly
Location in the Isles of Scilly
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 525 1,722 Asphalt/Grass
14/32 694 2,277 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
m ft
18/36 400 1,312 Grass
Statistics (2015 - provisional)
Passengers 94,718
Passenger change 14-15 Increase4.1%
Aircraft Movements (2014) 10,965
Movements change 13–14 Decrease10.4%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

St Mary's Airport or Isles of Scilly Airport (IATA: ISCICAO: EGHE) is an airport located 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) east of Hugh Town on St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly, to the south west of Cornwall, UK. It is the only airport serving the Isles of Scilly, handling all air traffic to and from the Islands. The airport is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and currently is operated by the Council of the Isles of Scilly.


On 15 September 1937, Olley Air Service's subsidiary Channel Air Ferries started the first scheduled service between Land's End and St Mary's, flying de Havilland Dragons. Initially, however, the planes landed on the St Mary's golf course.[3] St Mary's Airport was first opened in August 1939, after being converted from High Cross Farm.[4]

In 1938 Great Western and Southern Airlines took over Olley Air Service and Channel Air Ferries. It continued the service throughout World War II, during which it replaced the Dragons with de Havilland Dragon Rapides.[5] On 1 February 1947 this operation was taken over by British European Airways (BEA).[5] In August 1949 a control tower and a passenger waiting room were completed at St Mary's.[6]

British European Airways De Havilland Dragon Rapide at St Mary's airfield in 1958 before departure to Lands End airport.

On 2 May 1964, BEA replaced its Dragon Rapides on the Land's End route with a single Sikorsky S-61 helicopter, operated by BEA Helicopters. From 1 September 1964 the route was to the new Penzance Heliport. BEA Helicopters later became British Airways Helicopters, and subsequently British International Helicopters. A second helicopter was eventually added to the service in the summers.[7]

Mayflower Air Services started services to the airport in 1961; this operation was taken over by Scillonian Air Services in 1963, itself taken over by British Westpoint Airlines in 1964. Scillonia Airways operated services to the airport from 1966 to 1970. Westward Airways, not to be confused with Westward Airways (Lands End), operated services from 1967 to 1970. Brymon Airways operated services from June 1972 to March 1991,[6] initially with Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, and two years later, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters.[4]

In 1975, a new terminal was opened by the then incumbent Prime Minister Harold Wilson.[4]

In 1984 Isles of Scilly Skybus started flights to St Mary's from Land's End, initially freight and charter. Scheduled services started on 1 April 1987,[6] flying Islanders and, later, Twin Otters.[3]

The current 600m asphalt runway, 15/33, was built in 1991.[4]

After being in operation for 48 years, the helicopter service between St Mary's and the mainland UK ceased operations in October 2012, leaving Skybus as the sole remaining air link for the Isles of Scilly.[8]

In May 2013, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and the Council of the Isles of Scilly submitted a joint bid for finance from the European Regional Development Fund for improvements to the terminal, new lighting and navigational systems and runway resurfacing, together with runway resurfacing at Land's End Airport.[9] In May 2014 the European Commission gave its approval. The upgrades at St Mary's are expected to cost £6.5 million.[10]


The airport building (before the recent redevelopment); Old Town is seen just beyond the airport.

The terminal at the airport is open all year round whilst the airport is in operation. It has a buffet, toilets, as well as access to wheelchairs upon request. The airport is used as a landing area for some emergency services such as the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Aircraft (based out of Newquay Airport) and the Cornwall Air Ambulance, as well as being the administrative base for the Isles of Scilly Fire and Rescue Service.[11]

A public footpath passes within a few metres of the southern end of the runway;[12] it is closed by warning lights and bells a few minutes before a take-off or landing is due.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Isles of Scilly Skybus Land's End, Newquay
Seasonal: Exeter



  1. ^ Scilly Isles/St Mary's - EGHE
  2. ^ "PROVISIONAL CAA AIRPORT STATISTICS FOR DECEMBER 2015" (PDF). UK Civil Aviation Authority. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "An anniversary of flights between Land's End and the Isles of Scilly". Cornwall Life. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "History of St Mary's Airport". Council of the Isles of Scilly. 
  5. ^ a b Lo Bao, Phil; Hutchison, Iain (2002). BEAline to the Islands: The Story of Air Services to Offshore Communities of the British Isles by British European Airways, Its Predecessors and Successors. Erskine: Kea Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-0951895849. 
  6. ^ a b c Wickstead, Maurice (April 2008). "Bound for Lyonesse: The History of Flying in the Isles of Scilly" (PDF). Light Aviation. Light Aircraft Association. pp. 31–33. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Lo Bao and Hutchison (2002), pp. 11–19.
  8. ^ "European red tape delays airport's vital runway improvement project". Mid Devon Gazette. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "£6m upgrade of airports 'on the way to implementation'". The Cornishman. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Runway and terminal works for Land's End to Scilly flights get go ahead from European Commission". The Cornishman. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "St. Mary's Airport". Council of the Isles of Scilly. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. 
  12. ^ "1:25,000 map of St Mary's". Ordnance Survey. 
  13. ^ "Accident Report 8/84" (PDF). Air Accident Investigation Branch. 

External links[edit]