The first passenger flight landed at St Helena Airport

Avro RJ85 SA Airlink Photo by SA Airlink

The first passenger flight landed today at St Helena Airport (HLE). A charter flight by Air Partner and operated by SA Airlink Avro RJ85 touched down on the island at 13:54 UTC.

St Helena Government has signed a contract with Air Partner, a commercial organisation that sources charter flights around the world, to charter a plane to transport affected passengers of cancelled cruises from Cape Town to St Helena and vice versa. Air Partner has entered into an agreement with SA Airlink to carry out the flight which is due to arrive on Wednesday, 3 May.

St Helena AirportPhoto by St Helena Government/Facebook

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.

St Helena AirportPhoto by St Helena Government/Facebook

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.

On 26 April 2016, it was reported the opening of the airport would be delayed indefinitely because of concerns about wind shear, however, on 10 June 2016, the island’s government claim these reports are “incorrect” and the airport is “certified and open” as demonstrated by successful medical evacuation flight.

— St Helena Government; Wikipedia