St. Helena Airport is boost for Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islanders received a boost with the British Government confirming the plans for the new airport on St. Helena, another British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic.
The decision to move ahead with the US$400 million airport project was welcomed by the people of the Falklands as Argentina seeks to tighten its economic blockade by refusing to allow the flight to the archipelago, from Chile, permission to fly through its airspace. There is a small population of some 400 Saints in the Falklands.
South African engineering group Basil Read won the contract and will design, build and operate the airport. The project involves a small airport terminal, runway, connecting roads and harbor, together with the installation of air-traffic control systems. New technology called “engineered material arresting system” will allow the airport to receive larger aircraft than originally planned. The flight time between St. Helena and the Falkland Islands would be around 7 hours.
UK forces destined for combat duty in Afghanistan and Iraq have been training in the Falklands which provide unique live firing opportunities and an airport in St. Helena would significantly facilitate traffic between the islands and destinations in Africa, the United Kingdom and beyond. The Falkland Islands Government has been fostering relations with the St. Helena authorities for many years.