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St Elena's airport will receive its first airplane test landing next July

Monday, March 9th 2015 - 23:32 UTC
Full article 18 comments

The very first airplane landing on St Helena’s new airport is due to take place in July, seven months before the target date for its completion. St Elena is situated in the middle of the Atlantic, and besides being a volcanic island is world famous since Napoleon was kept under arrest by the British until his death. Read full article


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  • Briton

    St Elena's airport
    Just a possible staging post to the Falklands,
    They say, Britain is looking for a new nuclear base.
    Or perhaps Tristan da Cunha
    1,491 miles from the nearest continent and home to just one 300-person village at the foot of an active volcano: Experience life on Tristan da Cunha, the world's most remote island

    just saying like.

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 12:01 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Chicureo

    So fascinating, an airport in the middle of the south Atlantic. A major benefit of being a part of the UK.
    Along with defense and all the subsidies...

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 12:05 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • womble

    Well, it might be eminently sensible to have St Helena as a staging post, but rumours suggest poorly- paid Saints in the Falklands will be expected to fly via London an d Joburg to get back home from Mount Pleasant.. Not exactly an improvement for them....

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 01:39 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Britworker

    Im sure new routes will present themselves, this airport has a huge commercial advantage, it also has a huge military advantage!

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 08:43 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Islander1

    To clarify facts- St Helena Airport Runway will NOT - repeat NOT be long enough for aircraft to operate flights to the Falklands - it is only for medium range aircraft to connect St Helena with Africa and Ascension.

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 09:05 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • womble

    #5 - very shortsighted to have a short runway. The Airbridge could have taken passengers from ASI and Mount Pleasant to/from St Helena. . It could have opened up tourism around the Atlantic islands. How small-minded.

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 10:01 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Vulcanbomber

    #5 and #6

    the runway is being built including a full Runway End Safety Area. This cuts out the need for specialist arresting material and equipment.

    But as this is being done, it opens up the possibility to add a cheap extension on the end of the runway, through this safety area should the demand be there.

    Currently the demand is not big enough to handle big cargo planes etc, as the smaller lighter items will be in belly hold cargo, and the bulky heavy items will still travel by sea.

    The government have stated that specialist planes will be able to travel to the falklands, but generally this will not be the case whilst the runway is at the current size

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 12:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @7. What 'specialist planes? On the face of it, an RAF Voyager could neither land nor take off. Perhaps there will be little 'short hop' aircraft to take passengers to Ascension.

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 12:39 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ilsen

    Sounds a very peaceful place to live. Far from the troubles of this maddening world, but with all the benefits of being British...
    ah well, one can dream, I s'pose...

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 04:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    Can the runway be extended in the future,
    or is their not enough land.

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 08:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Britworker

    Just cut this off wikipedia

    The intention is to add an EMAS designed for Boeing 737-800 at a later date butting onto the southern end of the paved runway to increase the declarable Landing Distance Available (LDA) to 1,650 metres (5,410 ft),[11] which will then allow receiving larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320.[10][12]

    Mar 10th, 2015 - 10:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • womble

    #11 - reminds me of the intention to finish off the MPA road later.

    Might be simpler and cheaper to do it all when the workers and plant are there, rather than bring them back in a few years time.....?

    The Falklands experience of finishing big jobs isn't a good one, and FI has a lot more cash.

    Mar 11th, 2015 - 12:15 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Islander1

    If- and do not know the geography - it was physically possible, there is still the cost of the extension to justify:
    Why would UK flights to Falklands want to go there instead of Ascension which is enroute line and all facilities established including emergency accommodation if flight delayed etc etc.
    To fly to both would be a big additional cost to the UK taxpayer - the major payer of passages, albeit nice for a few passengers.
    Much better use some that money instead towards supporting the cost of -whatever it is that will fly into St Helena- then flying onto and thus linking with Ascension once every 2 or 4 weeks.

    Mar 11th, 2015 - 12:26 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Philippe

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning!!”


    Mar 11th, 2015 - 10:46 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    Providing one gets started in the first place..

    Mar 11th, 2015 - 11:43 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • womble

    #13. Why?

    To give the Airbridge somewhere to land and break the journey, should, say, the weather at MPA be too drafty for it (which seems to happen a lot). Pax could then stay in reasonable accommodation rather than dorms.

    It would mean an alternative to returning to ASI if problems at MPA or with the plane;

    It would allow the many Saints on the Falklands to easily travel home at Xmas, etc. They would be able to do it in a day, rather than a week, or at great cost. Thus they would be more productive, helping the FI economy, as they wouldnt have to take so much time off or be missing family.

    It would open up a new tourism route, connecting the islands of the South Atlantic, making it easier for people to visit and spend money!

    Rather than have 2 destinations at the end of a route (dead ends, meaning backtracking), it means different routes could be constructed, eg South Africa - STH - FI - South America. Or, UK - ASI - STH - FI - UK....

    It's not “go there instead of”, but go there AS WELL. Instead of scattering some crumbs, give them a slice of bread. As Shackleton recommended for the Falklands, put some seed capital into the economy and kick-start it.

    Just as everyone regrets the decision not to finish the MPA road years ago, it seems crazy not to build a runway that allows the Overseas Territories to be connected.

    Mar 11th, 2015 - 11:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    The runway , as is, could take the A300M Atlas and the C-130J , however, I don't see any advantage to the military using this airfield as opposed to Ascension.
    However, it could be used , in an emergency to air-drop supplies to Tristan da Cunha.

    Mar 11th, 2015 - 12:16 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Islander1

    Womble- They would have to build a lot of reserve accommodation extra on St Helena for up to 250 pax to use maybe 3 or 4 times a year. That accommodation already exists on Asc and is quite adequate for a 12-24hr stop.

    Little difference in flying time anyway Asc or St H to MPA.

    Currently if weather at MPA looking dodgy the flight turns about halfway from Asc and returns - nice and simple.

    If close to MPA and cannot land then it diverts to Montevideo. Established alternative.

    Most economical would be for whatever flys to St Helena to connect on to Asc say every 2 weeks or 4 weeks according to demand and costs. One has to be realistic and economic.

    Mar 12th, 2015 - 09:42 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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