After many years of hard work and team dedication, today St Helena has made another very important milestone in history. St Helena was always described as a remote South Atlantic Island, but it now breathes a sigh of relief and buzz of excitement both on Island and Worldwide.
Being one of the biggest and most successful deliveries in Island history, could be seen in motion by Islanders before their own eyes as the British Airways Boeing aircraft operated by Comair made their first approach followed by a fly pass over the runway, followed soon after by a successful landing at 12 noon local time.
This is now the largest aircraft to land at St Helena airport to date. It will later become the designated Comair operated flight used for the weekly air service to and from ‘Tambo’ International airport in Johannesburg.
Today’s milestone is the beginning of a new journey; it will serve all the residence living on Island and abroad. Today it has proved that access to and from the Island using a 21st century passenger airliner has just got easier and offers convenience for the traveller.
Although, the airport has not been given the official certification to operate. Confirmation is only hours away, before the announcement hopefully is made officially and to certify the airport. This of course was all down to last week’s visit of the ASSI team that was flown out to St Helena from London on a special flight from JO-burg, and to deliver their report with the approval to proceed with operations.
Todays flight brought 50 passengers which includes; Basil Reads Director, Jimmy Johnston and Deon Da Jager (Basil Reads island Director-in-charge of Airport Construction) who left the island on Friday 15th April (three days ago). Mr De Jager made a visit to his Head Office in South Africa and return today 18th April.
Following today’s events, there were many crowds of onlookers at vantage points and lining the high spots on the hill tops near the airport in view to this successful landing of Comair’s flight.
The aircraft is expected to operate a few flights tomorrow, before leaving on Wednesday afternoon at 1700 hrs for Johannesburg.
The official opening of the airport is schedule to open on May 21st 2016. In attendance will be HRH Price Edward the Earl of Wessex, a VIP flight will arrive on the May 20th at St Helena airport. To commemorate this special occasion, a further UK chartered flight operated by ‘Atlantic Star’ airlines is due to arrive two days later on May 23rd bringing also passengers to the island.
With all the excitement, and reaction from social media there was certainly a buzz on today’s events.
Phillip Newman Who witness the landing on St Helena commented on Facebook “This is history in the making, what a spectacular day for St Helena and an even better day for the history books”
Two Years in the Atlantic “The Island is buzzing right now, social media has gone nuts”
Usha Griffiths who lives in the UAE said “We thought that this day would never come, but it’s here……….first commercial flight to land on our little island Feeling emotional excited all roll into one………Daddie I’ll see you real soon!”
Trevor Botting “Historic day for St Helena with the Comair 737-800 landing at the airport Brilliant to be part of it!!”
Simon Benjamin took his own History selfie and later posted it on Facebook.
Another lady who lives in UK said she had tears rolling down her cheeks.
I’m sure on behalf of every one who will benefit from St Helena’s new airport, we would like to thank the team at DIFID, Jimmy Johnston, Deon De Jager and the Basil Read team including all the St Helenian staff and other organisations involved for one of this successful and satisfactory job made in St Helena’s history!
Please show your appreciation, and share your thoughts about the achievement made on St Helena today?