Planning is underway for an Avro RJ100 jet aircraft, operated by Tronos Jet Maintenance and flown by Atlantic Star Airlines, with final destination Chile, to fly to Ascension Island, followed by a call at St Helena Airport on the same day. Both are technical stops, and the crew will overnight on St Helena.
Atlantic Star has been commissioned to deliver the aircraft to Chile. The flight will travel from Zurich Airport, Switzerland, with technical stops in the United Arab Emirates, Senegal, Ascension Island and St Helena. From St Helena, the flight will then undertake technical stops at Ascension Island, Brazil and Uruguay, finally arriving at Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport, Chile.
The RJ100 will be the largest aircraft to operate at the recently built St Helena Airport since ASSI certification on 10 May 2016. Flown by an airline with a particular interest in operating to St Helena, the flight will provide the Airport with additional real time data and a pilot’s report all part of building a more comprehensive picture of conditions at St Helena Airport.
The RJ100 aircraft can be configured for between 78 and 97 passenger seats. On this occasion, the aircraft will be carrying approximately 16 non-commercial passengers, including the flight crew.
While St Helena Airport does not yet have a regular commercial air service, the Airport is operational with several commercial flights and three important medivac flights so far.
Intensive work continues to mitigate the challenges of wind shear at the Airport but getting this right involves complex work and will take some time. Computer and physical modeling are being employed to build a stronger picture of the conditions under which aircraft will operate. Safety remains paramount.
In November 2011, St Helena Government signed a Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contract with Basil Read (Pty) Ltd. The contract included £201.5 million for the design and construction of the airport, an additional amount - of up to - £10 million on shared risk contingency and £35.1 million for ten years of operation.
The project aims to provide air services to St Helena, fulfilling the UK Government’s commitment to maintaining access to the Island, and provide it with a real opportunity for economic growth through tourism. Both the St Helena Government and the UK Government hope that this will lead to eventual financial self-sustainability for St Helena.