Concerns over windshear have led St Helena Airport to delay to delay its official opening. The newly built facility was due to open on May 21 after Air Safety Support International (ASSI) had certified the airfield on May 10, following a final inspection the previous month. St Helena’s first Aerodrome Certificate is valid until November 9, at which point it will need to be re-certified.
In November 2011, St Helena Government signed a Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contract with Basil Read, that included £201.5 million for the design and construction of the airport, plus an additional amount, of up to £10 million, on shared risk contingency and £35.1 million for ten years of operation.
Comair Boeing 737-8LD ZS-ZWG (c/n 40972) became the first jet airliner to touch down on St Helena when it carried out an implementation flight on April 19. The South African airline will link the island to Johannesburg every Saturday. The aircraft arrived from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg shortly after midday, with Comair officials and staff from Basil Read on board. The jet also delivered a consignment of aircraft spare parts that will remain on the island.
The 737’s visit came just seven days after the British Protectorate’s new airport welcomed its first jet, Bombardier Challenger 300 ZS-ACT, which had flown in a team for Air Safety Support International (ASSI) to audit the airport prior to its official opening. The business jet undertook several flights during the visit for Air Traffic Control trials and other purposes.