There was more positive news this week for St Helena Airport following the latest visit by inspectors from Air Safety Support International (ASSI).
Formal feedback has now been received and Senior Aerodrome Inspector, Justin Rothwell, and Air Traffic Services Inspector, Sarah Lee, endorsed certification of Air Traffic Services for a twelve month period from 3 April 2017 and provided an open-ended (i.e. not time bound) Aerodrome Certificate. This is an immense achievement and was welcomed by St Helena Government and Basil Read.
It was an intensive visit covering aerodrome and air traffic services operations, both practical and theoretical. The Airport Quality Management and Safety Management systems were also reviewed. Whilst here ASSI examined the three Air Traffic Controllers for competence and their certificates of competence were signed giving them another year of approved operation.
Highlights of the visit included a cliff rescue exercise as well as an emergency exercise held at the Airport. Both exercises involved Airport and SHG personnel and were observed by the ASSI team members and the visiting team from the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Whilst it has not yet been possible to commence regular scheduled commercial air services to the Island, operations at St Helena Airport are underway and consist primarily of one-off charter flights and vital medevac flights. Work continues to better understand the conditions at St Helena Airport, including the challenges of windshear.
In December 2016, St Helena Government released a Request for Proposals to provide scheduled air services to St Helena over a three year period. The closing date for receipt of bids was the beginning of February and it is hoped to announce the preferred bidder in early (UK) summer 2017.
Commencement of air services will follow once the regulatory permissions are granted and the necessary practical arrangements are in place. To find out more about ongoing work at St Helena Airport see the Publications page of the SHG website.