First passenger plane lands at 'useless' St Helena airport

60 passengers flew into British territory St Helena for first time

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First passenger plane lands at 'useless' St Helena airport

The first passenger plane has touched down at a £250 million UK airport dubbed the 'world's most useless' a year after construction was completed.


The airport is on the island of St Helena, a British territory located in the south Atlantic to the west of Africa.

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Sixty passengers flew into the airport for the first time, a decade after construction plans were announced.

Usually, the only way to reach the outpost is on a Royal Mail ship.

The green light for the airport construction was given by the Coalition in 2010, with work getting underway in November 2011.

According to the Independent, it is one of the Government's most expensive investments on a per capita basis, at a cost of more than £60,000 for each person living on the territory.

Holidaymakers normally have to spend five days travelling to the island by ship from South Africa, and the airport plan projected a 30-fold increase in visitors to the island by 2042, giving tourism a healthy boost.

The airport's opening has been delayed because of the difficulty of landing at the airport owing to a "dangerous" approach thanks to a phenomenon called wind shear, in which winds can change speed and direction dramatically and quickly.

According to Stuff.co.nz, the Department for International Development, which funded the project to support tourism and help the territory's 4100 residents become self-sufficient, sought expert help to overcome the airport's wind problems and "provide the best possible air service".

However, it's not yet clear if large airlines like the Boeing 737-800 can land from the north due to the wind shear issue.

This did not stop residents coming out to celebrate the first passenger plane landing at the airport.

St Helena Governor Lisa Phillips was on the flight and shared the experience on Facebook.

World's best airports 2017 (Skytrax)

World's best airports 2017 (Skytrax)