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Successful flight test at troubled St Helena airport

st helena airport

A proving flight has successfully landed at the troubled £285M St Helena Airport, branded a “disaster” by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last year.

South African firm Airlink led the test flight, which landed successfully at the South Atlantic Ocean airport on Monday. A series of flight trials are now taking place before the aircraft departs St Helena today (Tuesday). It means commercial flight services could begin at the airport soon.

The British-funded airport, constructed by South African construction firm Basil Read, was due to open to commercial airlines last May but problems with windshear have made it too difficult for commercial aeroplanes to land.

The Department for International Development (DfID) said that although no substantial construction work has taken place over the last 12 months, the windshear issues have been addressed using data collection and computer and physical modelling.

However, DfID did not disclose costs as the work is ongoing.

Last December the PAC said it was “staggering” that the DfID had not foreseen the problems which stopped commercial flights at the airport.

In May this year the airport received certification confirming it complies with international safety standards.

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