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15 Oct 2017

World’s “most useless airport” opens for commercial operations

St Helena international airport dubbed the “most useless airport” in the world by the British media is to receive its first commercial airline flight today.
The remote British island of St Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

A plane from South Africa is expected to touch down in the new airport, ending the island’s reliance on a ship once every three weeks.

It is hoped the service, funded by the UK, will boost tourism and help make St Helena more self-sufficient.

Built with £285m ($380m) of funding from the UK Department for International Development (Dfid), it should have opened last year but dangerous wind conditions delayed the launch.

After further trials this summer the weekly service between Johannesburg and St Helena was passed as safe.

Up until now, the British territory has been one of the world’s most inaccessible locations, only served by the ship from South Africa.

It is chiefly known as the island where French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died after his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

An Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft operated by SA Airlink is due to land at 13:15 GMT on Saturday, carrying 78 passengers.

The flight is scheduled to take six hours and 15 minutes including a stop in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

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