A High Court judge will decide whether plans to resurrect a helicopter link to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance can continue after the islands' only travel operator launched an appeal.

A new Penzance Heliport was granted planning permission by Cornwall Council in February, but this week the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company saw its request for a judicial review given the go-ahead.

The operator, which currently has a monopoly on passenger links to the islands through the Scillonian III ferry and fixed wing aircraft, has said it does not object to the idea of a helicopter service but believes it would be better operated from Land's End airport - which the company also owns and runs.

Penzance Heliport Ltd said in a statement that it was aware permission had been granted for the judicial review, but it was "just a formality and signals nothing more than the judge’s agreement that elements of the case may proceed to court."

The company said: "It is not a judgment on the worthiness of either the Steamship Company or Cornwall Council’s case.

"We remain disappointed that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has taken this move but are absolutely convinced that Cornwall Council’s decision was the right one and that this will be reflected in the outcome of the case."

Andrew May, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said the judge's decision to approve the review was "recognition that the original planning decision is worthy of further scrutiny."

He said: "We support a return of a helicopter service, but we believe it is in the best long-term interests of the islands and its transport system to use Land’s End Airport rather than duplicate existing facilities at Penzance.

"So although we will continue to prepare for the judicial review hearing, we are actively trying to encourage and facilitate the helicopter service from Land’s End Airport and are well aware of the support that exists for it."

Asked whether it was simply seeking to protect its business as sole service provider to the islands, the company said it was "not afraid of competition", and denied operating a monopoly, saying: "Just because we are currently the sole provider does not stop anyone else entering the air or sea market to Scilly."

It added: "Inevitably competition, whether at Land’s End or from Penzance, will involve varying degrees of market adjustment and the consequences for our services, future investment decisions and current benefits provided to the community are as yet unknown."

And the company added that any competition and the resultant impact on its turnover could affect its ability to provide and upgrade services to the islands, including a new freight ship and an upgraded replacement to the Scillonian III, as well as its provision of loss-making winter services.

Cornwall Council, which is the defendant in the judicial review, said in a statement: "The council has previously expressed its intention to robustly defend the decision taken by the Strategic Planning Committee. Necessarily the authority needs to keep its position under review and will now be considering what action to take in the light of the decision to grant permission for the judicial review to proceed."

A petition against the judicial review has been set up by the islanders and has already gathered more than 7,000 signatures. It can be viewed at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/petition-for-a-helicopter-service-between-penzance-and-the-isles-of-scilly