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St Helena needs an airport

#1
St Helena is the main Island of group three inhabited islands in the South Atlantic that also include Ascension and Tristan Da Cuhna.

The British Government has announced a “pause” in its negotiations over the contract for the construction of an airport on St Helena. This effectively brings the project to a halt.

The airport is vital to reduce the isolation of over 4,000 inhabitants who are loyal British citizens and give them and thousands of other “Saints” in the UK and other countries hope for a better future.

St Helena has changed in recent years from the idyllic paradise of past memories. Life is becoming increasingly desperate for many people.
There are only limited opportunities for skilled workers and young people, many of whom are being forced to leave their families to seek work abroad. Over a hundred and fifty children and young adults are now in informal foster care as a result.

The close family unit upon which Saint Helena prided itself is fast breaking down. The population is now increasingly comprised of the elderly and children. Consequently revenue will continue to decrease, the Island will become more dependent on British Aid and its viability will continue to be eroded by isolation and economic decline.

An airport provides the only real hope of reversing the Islands dependence by enabling it to develop tourism and other businesses. A sustainable high value, low volume tourism industry would inject cash into the community whilst minimising negative impacts. St Helena needs this to survive. Saints do not want UK handouts. Being able to provide for itself would restore pride and motivation to the Islands community.

The airport project has been planned for over six years and was scheduled to be completed by 2012. It had galvanised islanders to plan for a future of self sufficiency after years of steady decline. Whilst the Island is grateful for the many years it has been served by the RMS St Helena, sea access alone has not stimulated economic development; nor will it in future. The RMS is also increasingly expensive to maintain and will need to be replaced in a few years at considerable cost

A decision not to build an airport would be a false economy. Continued shipping subsidies will ultimately cost the British taxpayer far more than the cost of an airport and offers Saints no prospect of self sufficiency.
 
#3
I seem to recall reading the cost is about 4 million for this and long term it will more than pay for itself. So any short term saving by not building it now will ultimately end up costing more.

As an aside, I thought they weren't British Citizens and don't have the right to move to the UK - just something I seem to remember reading.
 
#5
There's a wider aspect to this. If St Helena had a military airport, major cost savings could be realised by the MoD by upping sticks and moving from Ascension. St Helena has water and a port. It also has a large enough static population to warrant cost-efficient power generation. Landing fees from civilian users would help offset costs.

Let's face it, the concept has worked in Gibraltar and on Ascension. Time for a military presence?
 
#6
putteesinmyhands said:
Time for a military presence?
it used to have a substantial Garrison so did Tristan (mainly when Napoleon was a prisoner).

A military part to the airport would strengthen the UK's interests in the South Atlantic. It would maybe also allow C-130J's the leap frog from Ascension to the Falklands without having to inflight refuel (no doubt someone will work out the distances involved and prove me wrong).
 
#7
Military implications need to be considered. If St Helena were to get a totally civvy airport and a tourist trade capable of providing employment for the inhabitants, Ascension would be stuffed for labour. Just can't really imagine the shop in Georgetown displaying torn bits of cardboard reading "Polski Sklep".
 
#8
I don't think the Foreign Office, MoD or Government have any interest whatsoever in our remaining colonies and territories - and they show absolutely no interest in strategic planning. Look how Gibraltar has been run down to nothing - most of the MoD assets flogged off to housing developers.
 
#11
Ord_Sgt said:
I seem to recall reading the cost is about 4 million for this and long term it will more than pay for itself. So any short term saving by not building it now will ultimately end up costing more.
Like that's ever stopped them before with their 'savings measures'. Sounds like SOP for the government.
 
#12
As I remember flights to the FI were re directed to St Helena due to weather etc, is this announcement anything to do with the talks between HM Gov and the Argentina Gov about the future of the FI, Si!!
 
#13
Spanish_Dave said:
As I remember flights to the FI were re directed to St Helena due to weather etc, is this announcement anything to do with the talks between HM Gov and the Argentina Gov about the future of the FI, Si!!
If redirected to St Helena, there'd be a big splash.
 
#16
Wonder how much it would cost using the unemployed component of TA RE Field Squadrons on non-operational 4 month tours....

Could do wonders for recruitment... Especially into the Royal St Helena Militia RE...
 

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