First passenger plane lands at 'world's most useless airport' a year after it was built on St Helena

The airport, completed a year ago, is one of Government's most expensive investments at £60,000 per head of population

Jon Sharman
Sunday 07 May 2017 09:01 BST
Footage shows a non-commercial flight landing at St Helena airport in October 2016

The first passenger flight has finally touched down at a remote £250m airport dubbed the 'world's most useless' more than a decade after its construction was announced and a year after it was completed.

Some 60 passengers flew into St Helena airport in the middle of the Atlantic, defying the deadly potential wind shear that has delayed services for months, The Times reported.

Ordinarily a Royal Mail ship is the only way to reach the rocky outpost, but it was being repaired.

Announced in 2005, the final decision on building the airport was repeatedly delayed until it was agreed by the Coalition in July 2010, with construction work getting under way in November 2011.

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 in the tiny territory.

Its opening was repeatedly postponed because of the difficulty of landing aircraft on St Helena, where winds can change speed and direction dramatically. It was officially meant to begin accepting flights last spring.

St Helena has been under British possession since the East India Company was given permission to govern it by Oliver Cromwell in 1657.

After his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon, who had escaped from the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, was sent to St Helena to ensure he would never again return to Europe.

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