Atlantic Star Airlines calls on government to resolve St Helena airport "debacle"

 
Rebecca Smith
St Helena airport has been grounded as it's too windy for flights
St Helena airport has been grounded as it's too windy for flights (Source: St Helena Airport )

Atlantic Star Airlines is calling on the government to discuss the rapid introduction of "a much-needed air service" in and out of St Helena.

Representatives from the airline are meeting with the former department for international development (DfID) minister Lord Foulkes today about the issue concerning the British-owned island in the south Atlantic.

Lord Foulkes said "the debacle over the St Helena Airport has gone on long enough".

The airport has cost the British taxpayer over £285m to build, but has been plagued with difficulties since completion earlier this year. Flights were meant to be going in and out of the island by May, but that was put off indefinitely due to concerns over wind shear.

Read more: St Helena airport costing £285m can't open because it's too windy

Ahead of a public accounts committee evidence session on the issue later today, Captain Richard Brown, chief executive of Atlantic Star Airlines and Lord Foulkes, will jointly call on the government to implement Atlantic Star's proposal to provide an interim air service out of the island, while DfID addresses wider issues surrounding the airport's access.

Atlantic Star was founded in 2012 and wants to be an airline specifically serving St Helena. The island is one of the hardest to reach locations in the world; it takes a five and a half day voyage on the RMS Saint Helena.

Read more: Heathrow's already started spending on its third runway

Atlantic Star's interim flights proposal would involve using a specialist AVRO RJ100 jet, with the airline able to begin flights as early as spring next year, if the government gave the idea the green light.

The airline ran a test flight to St Helena on Friday 21 October.

Brown said: "There is a realistic, workable solution on the table and it is vital that, for islanders and the British taxpayer alike, the government agrees to help take the proposal forward."

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