Falklands to benefit from St. Helena’s new airport.

8 Nov

The final go-ahead for St. Helena’s new airport has been greeted in the Falkland Islands as a much-needed extra lifeline for the territory, which is suffering from an illegal blockade by Argentina.

At the moment, air services to Europe are routed through Ascension Island, another of Britain’s overseas territories, but a seven-hour link to St.Helena will open up, not only a shorter link to international air services, but new markets too.

St. Helena has only been accessible via the British postal service vessel, which operates from Cape Town in South Africa. The new airfield will also be linked to Cape Town, opening access to its international air links.

With a proposed 1.8km long air strip, construction is due to start immediately with a completion date in 2015, in time for the 200th  anniversary of the arrival of Napoleon as a prisoner in exile following his  defeat at the battle of Waterloo.

Analysts said the St. Helena government’s decision to finally go ahead with  the airport, after long delays, appeared driven in part by concerns over the continuing standoff with Argentina. U.K. forces destined for combat duty in Afghanistan and Iraq have also been training in the Falklands, leading to accusations of a military build-up in the South Atlantic.

An airport in St. Helena would significantly  facilitate traffic between the Falklands and destinations in the United Kingdom  and beyond.

St. Helena is about 3,812 miles — seven hours and 40 minutes flight time —  from the Falklands.

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