18 JANUARY 2016
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Work is progressing fast to complete an airport for the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena, a British Overseas Territory, perhaps even better known as the final residence of Napoleon. Previously the island has only been linked to the African mainland, 1200 miles away by ship.
The first scheduled flight is planned for May 2016. The single runway is 6,397ft (1,950m) long and will allow Airbus A320 and Boeing 737/757 aircraft, plus the military C-130 Hercules, to fly in, but will preclude any Category D aircraft, such as the Boeing 767.
Two calibration flights have been completed but tickets for scheduled services will not be allowed to be issued until the full airport certification has been completed. Carriers confirmed so far are Comair, with a Boeing 737 link to Johannesburg, and Atlantic Star Airlines which is a new carrier planning to operate a Boeing TUI 757 to the island from the UK. 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
By sea Walvis Bay is 1400 miles and Cape Town 1945 miles. Editor
Ted Scull, New York, NY
The closest sea link to the African mainland is not the nearest point in Africa, it is Cape Town. The closet sea link to an airport is Ascension. I travelled to St. Helena aboard the RMS from Cardiff in 1993, spent a wonderful week on the island then continued onto Cape Town.
David Bentley, Manchester
It looks worryingly close to the edge.
Graham Stephenson, UK
Great to see the new runway at St Helena. Are those skid marks that we can see?! Gerald Yon, originally from St Helena, was one of the first two people to work at the Jet Centre at LCY and has now returned to St Helena to work at the new airport there.