NEWS UPDATE by ZD7VDE/G0VDE

After six months of waiting we may have some good news. The windshear problem at the airport has not gone away, but ‘Tronos Aviation’ have ferried a 4-engined AVRO RJ100 via St Helena to South America. Atlantic Star Airlines personnel were on the flight, which travelled to Chile via Ascension and St Helena.

The landing on runway 02 was reportedly uneventful, and when the passengers disembarked, the plane took off and landed from the north on runway 20 – this time windshear was reported not to be a problem.

It’s been suggested Atlantic Star Airlines could run weekly ferry flights from Ascension to link up with the RAF flights to the UK – and this potentially could start as early as the New Year.

Video: Avro RJ100 passenger aircraft operated by Tronos Aviation Leasing, sponsored by Atlantic Star Airlines, landing at St Helena Airport to both test and demonstrate its suitability for the island’s conditions. Video by Sharon Henry as part of the photography blog, What The Saints Did Next. For full story and photos, please visit the blog at www.whatthesaintsdidnext.com

October 16, 2016 — Following info was provided by Bill, G0VDE to OPDX Bulletin:

The opening of St. Helena airport still has continuing serious problems and it is still not possible to land sensible sized aircraft like 737 there. The planned flights (in May/June and October by Atlantic Star) have been cancelled. The Comair flights from South Africa have likewise not started. All in all, it is a total mess and the UK government is being accused of building a £250M white elephant of an unusable airfield, all due to strong winds and wind shear!

I have had to cancel, re-book and cancel my accommodation – if you read the ZD7 ‘newsletters’ (the St. Helena Sentinel and the St Helena Independent) you will see it has been a very sorry story – hotels were encouraged to prepare extra rooms for the coming ‘tourist boom’ and one has even reportedly gone out of business, because they spent a lot to prepare and have now got no means of recovering their losses!”

So I am afraid I am not going this October either (having had to cancel my May/June trip). I am keeping somewhat up-to-date about the events on my website – but there is no planned date for the full airport opening so I don’t have any certain future date.

You may know the boat (the RMS St. Helena) was due to retire at the end of July, but it has been kept in operation for about another year as it is obviously the only way of accessing the island. I am looking at the possibility of traveling by the boat, but the problem is two fold – the cost is at least double the planned cost of flying, and I would have to travel for two weeks and only be able to stay for one week… It is just possible I will take this option, but I am still waiting as I could theoretically fly at quite short notice, should proper flights begin.

We therefore have a sorry situation and a continuing delay – I will try to keep everyone posted. Maybe the only silver lining is that ZD7 will get rarer and any future visit would be popular!”

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