23 FEBRUARY 2015
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Work is progressing fast with an airport for one of the world's most remote destinations St Helena, currently only accessible by sea. Deep into the sub-tropical South Atlantic the nearest land is 1,200 miles away.
The opening of the airport in February 2016 will bring to an end the isolation of an atoll best known as Napoleon Bonaparte's final place of exile.
To put it all in perspective the island covers 96 sq miles and has a population of 4,255. Last year it hosted 2,800 international visitors, expected to increase to around 10,000 by 2020. Most of these tourists were from the 12 cruise ships that visited the island.
Cathy Alberts, Director for St Helena Tourism, says: "The introduction of air links will open up St Helena to a global audience and well and truly put our island on the map. Travellers looking to plan their next big adventure and discover somewhere untrammelled by mass tourism should set their sights on a visit in 2016."
Key milestones for the year ahead include awarding a contract for an air service provider and deciding upon the routes to and from the island. The airport terminal building, taxiway and 1500m runway are on schedule for completion later this summer, with flight trials programmed to begin soon afterwards. www.sthelenatourism.com www.sainthelenaaccess.com
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Dave Hunter, EGNX
1500m runway, 1200nm to nearest land. Only routes are CPT 1750nm or WDH 1400nm but with reduced load for take-off in St Helena. There was/is talk of arrester gear so why not just install cats and traps? They want to attract European tourists so why not build to take aircraft from Europe and include Falkland flights through St Helena, serve both communities? Looks like DFID are a couple of bricks short of the load. St Helena via CPT (19 hours) as they say in t'north there now’t as queer as Westminster civil servants - living in their own little worlds.