Gibraltar and Málaga are scheduled to be linked on Friday (30 October) by a new helicopter service. Not just another one of the “flights to nowhere” being offered by airlines around the world as they grapple with lost revenue – although the view from the air along the Costa del Sol is stunning and would certainly make a memorable round-trip. But rather a full commercial service between Gibraltar International Airport and Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport.
The service is operated by Hélity, a Spanish company that also offers regular flights between Ceuta (one of Spain’s autonomous city enclaves in northern Morocco) and Málaga, and Ceuta and Algeciras, as well as other services including private charter flights, helicopter tours and offshore operations.
According to the company, the new route is designed to facilitate the connection between Gibraltar and Málaga, with a flight time of 25 minutes and capacity for 15 passengers.
The service will be operated by an Agusta Westland 139 helicopter: a medium-size twin-engined helicopter that “leads the market in world oil rig operations, becoming a reference point due to its design characteristics, which ensure the highest performance and maximum safety. Designed to perform charter flights and passenger transport, these helicopters enjoy a spacious, comfortable and quiet cabin with air-conditioning.”
Other key features of the aircraft include a crew comprising a commander and co-pilot, a cruising speed of 250 km/h, twin-engines and a three-hour flight-range.
Hélity notes that, “in addition to all the efficient security measures taken to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, the airflow inside the helicopter is renewed totally and constantly from the outside of the cabin in less than a minute. The key values of Hélity are contained in its slogan: ‘Safety, Quality, Agility’.”
Welcoming the new helicopter service, minister for business, tourism, transport and the port Vijay Daryanani said: “We are very encouraged that during these challenging times another operator is adding a new route to Gibraltar International Airport. This service will provide improved connectivity to Gibraltar and its catchment area, bringing new opportunities both for the business and leisure markets.”
Any visitors travelling to Málaga, then either flying directly back to the UK or returning to Gibraltar for a flight home, should be aware that they may be required to enter into quarantine. Spain is not included on the UK’s current “travel corridor” list which exempts returning travellers from self-isolating for 14 days.The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office also recommends against non-essential travel to countries including Spain, which is currently subject to a new nationwide “State of Emergency” and regional measures including a night-time curfew and mobility restrictions.
Photos courtesy of HM Government of Gibraltar