Cape Town - A team from Flight Calibration Services Limited (FCSL) arrived at St Helena Airport on Thursday, 21 July, aimed at undertaking routine Calibration Flights in connection with the navigation aids at the Airport.
This after the St Helena Airport Project announced earlier this week that the Airport Code HLE has been designated for St Helena Airport by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA assigns unique three-letter codes to identify airports, for use by airlines and computer reservation systems. Therefore, passengers duo to fly to and from St Helena Airport will find the code HLE on their documentation, boarding passes and baggage labels. IATA will publish confirmation of this in its monthly bulletin at the end of June, the St Helena Airport Project says.
When passengers will actually be able to fly to St Helena Airport on a commercially operated flight, however, is yet to be announced.
Although the airport was issued with an Aerodrome Certificate from Air Safety Support International (ASSI) in May this year, and Comair has already announced it will be operating flights to and from the island from Johannesburg, technical issues and unsatisfactory testing has delayed the official take-off of commercial flights.
Currently the airport is open for private flights and medical evacuation services.
The airport operation delays resulted in the iconic Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena confirming an extension of her services to the island to July 2017, after initially saying the last voyage will be done in July this year.
The start of calibration services at the airport, however, is a step in the right direction for flight connectivity. The St Helena Government says a regular schedule is now in place at the airport for calibration flights to be carried out every six months in order to meet the normal ongoing requirements for Airport Certification.
The flight is expected to depart later this week upon completion of all calibration tasks.
In November 2011, St Helena Government signed a Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contract with Basil Read (Pty) Ltd. The contract included £201.5 million for the design and construction of the airport, an additional amount - of up to - £10 million on shared risk contingency and £35.1 million for ten years of operation.
The project aims to provide air services to St Helena, fulfilling the UK Government’s commitment to maintaining access to the Island, and provide it with a real opportunity for economic growth through tourism.
Both the St Helena Government and the UK Government hope that this will lead to eventual financial self-sustainability for St Helena, the island's government says.
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