Island Shuttle Flights

Aviation International News » June 2006
September 18, 2006, 9:27 AM

Helisureste also offers scheduled services, flying from Malaga to the Spanish territory of Ceuta, on the North African coast, and from Malta to its Mediterranean island neighbor of Gozo. On the former run it has recently introduced a new AW139, which offers two more passenger seats and shaves 10 minutes off the flying time of its predecessor, a Bell 412.

The service allows passengers to avoid having to travel an hour by road from Malaga, to the Spanish port of Algeciras, and then 45 minutes by ferry to Ceuta.
Ceuta enjoys a low-tax regime, so every Spanish bank and most large companies have an office in that city. 

Said commercial director Antonio Martinez, “We chose the 139 for the 20-knot speed advantage and a desire to introduce a modern type. However, with this helicopter Seville is only 45 minutes from Ceuta so, since it is also quieter and more comfortable, we are considering connecting those two points.”

By contrast, the Malta-to-Gozo service is almost entirely tourism-oriented. A local operator used to provide a service with a Mil Mi-8, but when the island joined the European Union in 2004 it could not meet new airworthiness regulations. Helisureste pitched for the business with (among others) British International but, since the commercial risk lies entirely with the operator, its experience further west was influential.

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