Andreas Spaeth (*) The airport on the remote British Overseas Territory island St Helena, once dismissed as the “world’s most useless airport” by British media, is proving to be a reliable asset.
British Overseas Territory St. Helena achieved a major milestone on Tuesday when Air Safety Support International (ASSI) issued an Aerodrome Certificate to brand new St Helena Airport - having been satisfied that the Airport infrastructure, aviation security measures and air traffic control service complies with international aviation safety and security standards. This follows a final inspection of the Airport by an ASSI team last month.
The St. Helena Government confirms that further safety and operational work is required prior to the Official Opening of the Island’s new Airport – and that this event has therefore been postponed. While this means that the Airport will not officially open on 21 May 2016 as originally planned, the safety of aircraft and passengers is of course paramount.(MP, 15 and 19 April).
The British Overseas Territory St Helena in mid Atlantic made history on Monday as the first large passenger jet aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 (ZS-ZWG), touched down at St Helena’s new Airport shortly after 12.00 noon. This is the actual Boeing aircraft which will serve the St Helena/Johannesburg rout, according to a release from the local government.
The Government of St Helena has announced that the official opening of the island's new airport is set to take place on 21 May 2016, in the presence of HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. For the British Overseas Territory island in mid Atlantic and with an only monthly sea link, the airport means a dream come true, and both the St Helena and UK governments hope that this will lead to eventual financial self-sustainability.
South African airline Comair will operate the Boeing 737-800, configured to seat about 120 passengers, on the route from the St Helena Island’s airport to Johannesburg. A British Overseas Territory, St Helena is a remote South Atlantic island, where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was once exiled and died after his defeat at Waterloo.
British Overseas Territory St Helena is closer to the official opening of its airport following a series of calibration flights by the first aircraft to successfully land and takeoff from the mid Atlantic island.
Two South African companies, Mantis in the hotel business and Comair airline, will be playing a vital role in developing St Helena's economy through increased communications and the tourist industry, once the international airport is opened next February, according to the latest news from the British Overseas Territory in mid South Atlantic.
A South African airline operator has been named the favorite to provide an air service for St Helena when its first airport opens early in 2016. But Comair, which also operates budget flights as kulula.com, will only offer flights to Johannesburg in South Africa, despite strong calls for a direct service to Europe.