Commercial flights finally take off at St Helena airport

Rebecca Smith
St Helena has long been one of the world's most inaccessible spots
St Helena has long been one of the world's most inaccessible spots (Source: Getty)

A long-awaited scheduled service has finally taken off at St Helena, after the airport’s first commercial flights landed over the weekend.

The first scheduled service from South Africa to the remote British island in the south Atlantic touched down on Saturday, with the return flight leaving Sunday afternoon.

It marks a huge step forward for the £285m airport that has been dubbed the most useless in the world after wind troubles grounded flights.

Read more: Scheduled services at St Helena airport just drew a big step closer

It was meant to open last year, but dangerous wind shear for large aircraft, meant that was put on hold to the disappointment of the 4,255 people living on the island.

Test flights over the summer operated by Airlink were successful, giving the green light to a commercial service on its Embraer jet.

Long one of the world’s most inaccessible locations, serviced by the RMS Helena ship, the island is now hopeful the operating airport will be a boon for tourism, and have a knock-on impact on the likes of agriculture, fisheries and construction.

The airport will receive weekly flights to and from South Africa.

St Helena governor Lisa Phillips, called it "the start of a bright new future".

She said:

We are determined to make sure that air services work to benefit all St Helenians and bring about a higher standard of living for those on the island.

We are open for business and investment and we know tourists will marvel at the beauty of the island. We are happy to welcome our visitors to the ‘secret of the South Atlantic’.

As well as the weekly air service on a Saturday, Airlink will also operate a monthly charter service between St Helena and Ascension Island. That service will start with the first flight from St Helena on Saturday 18 November, returning on Sunday 19 November.

The flight will then take place on the second weekend of every month.

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

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