Friday, 21 October 2016

St. Helena Airport: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

The St Helena Independent, October 21st 2016

Sometime this afternoon an Avro RJ100 is scheduled to land on St Helena. It will be using the shorter 02 runway, which avoids the major windshear problems which have caused the postponement of commercial flights. This involves landing with a tailwind, which apparently the Avro RJ100 is highly suitable for.

The Avro RJ100 is capable of carrying up to 98 passengers, though this afternoon's flight will have only 15 on board. The plane is being organised by Atlantic Star Airlines, who have long been involved in planning commercial flights from Europe to St. Helena. They have secured the services of two experienced Faroe Islands pilots. The flight should provide valuable information about wind conditions on St. Helena, and it at last offers some prospect of a resolution to the problem.

The flight began in Zurich, and made technical stops in the United Arab Emirates, Senegal and Ascension. Tomorrow it is scheduled to fly to Brazil, then Uruguay and finally to Chile. In the long run maybe it will be possible to make a combined a trip to St. Helena and Latin America. I certainly hope so.

I am keeping my fingers crossed. The Saints have had enough disappointments this year to last several lifetimes.

Postscript : The plane landed at 3.50 this afternoon.

Avro RJ100 arriving at St Helena Airport, 21st October 2016

According to the Governor's post on Facebook the plane took off again and landed into the wind with no problems. Hats off to Atlantic Star Airlines for their perseverance and commitment to the island.

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