The third Operational Readiness Trial was held at St Helena Airport on Friday 13 May 2016, from 9.30am to 12.30pm, followed by an Open Day from 3pm to 8pm – with all St Helena residents invited. The third trial proved to be another very useful exercise to test and fine tune key systems in the Terminal Building and elsewhere.
Volunteers and Primary schoolchildren experienced at first hand of what to expect when St Helena Airport is fully operational and handling regular commercial flights.
Head of Operations at St Helena Airport, Gwyneth Howell, commented:
“These trials have been a great success and a genuine achievement for all who volunteered to play a role on each day. I thank all of our volunteers.
“The challenge here is to take the feedback and improve one’s service delivery to all stakeholders. For me personally, it was great to see the Saints’ expressions of ‘Wow’ and the curiosity and excitement the trials and Open Day created.”
For the Open Day, hundreds of St Helena residents visited the Airport, some for the first time. Staff were on hand throughout the day to answer questions and guide members of the public through the Terminal Building, Combined Building, Control Tower and the Fire Fighting & Rescue facility. Residents also had the unique opportunity to travel the full length of the illuminated Runway by bus.
St Paul’s Primary School pupil, Lewis Caesar, was really impressed with the layout of the Terminal Building, with other schoolchildren describing the whole experience as ‘really cool’.
17 May 2016
Another major milestone for St Helena Airport was achieved yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 10 May 2016, when Air Safety Support International (ASSI) issued an Aerodrome Certificate to St Helena Airport – having been satisfied that the Airport infrastructure, aviation security measures and air traffic control service complies with international aviation safety and security standards. This follows a final inspection of the Airport by an ASSI team last month.
Airport Certification is a significant achievement for any airport and even more so for a brand new airport. But it is an ongoing process. St Helena’s first Aerodrome Certificate is valid until 9 November 2016, at which point the Airport will need to be re-certified.
Notes to Editors
Airport Certification from ASSI and operational readiness are parallel processes – so wind shear and turbulence mitigation is a separate issue which does not affect the certification of St Helena Airport.
The commencement of flights is an operational readiness issue. Work is continuing in parallel on operational readiness at St Helena Airport, including the work that is now underway to manage issues of turbulence and wind shear experienced by the Comair Implementation Flight.
ASSI is aware that these operational issues are still to be addressed and will be discussing them with the Airport operator and other stakeholders over the coming weeks. Commercial operations will not commence at St Helena Airport until we have concluded this work.
Every effort is being made to start Airport operations at the earliest opportunity. However, safety is paramount and we will not commence commercial operations until we are satisfied with every aspect of Airport operations.
11 May 2016
The second Operational Readiness Trial at St Helena Airport was held on Saturday, 7 May 2016 – and proved to be another useful exercise to test key systems in the Terminal Building. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that volunteered as ‘passengers’ and to their ‘meeters & greeters’.
The third trial will take place on Friday 13 May 2016. On this occasion we will have 200 volunteer ‘passengers’ – we plan that 100 volunteers will act as Departing passengers and 100 as Arriving passengers. This will allow us to test departures and arrivals procedures in parallel.
All volunteer passengers for Friday have been advised as to what role they are playing – departing or arriving. If there are any further queries, please contact Tessa Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel. 22494.
Volunteers are requested to please invite as many of your family and friends along on the day as you wish, to play the roles of ‘meeters & greeters’.
Departing Passengers ‘Boarding Instructions’
The ‘flight’ is scheduled to depart from St Helena Airport at 12.30hrs. Check-in will commence at 9.30hrs and finish at 11.30hrs. Any passenger arriving after 11.30hrs will not be checked-in and will miss their ‘flight’.
In order to check-in, passengers will need to bring their Passport or another form of identification – for example a birth certificate or drivers licence. Please note that the alternative form of identification is allowed for the purposes of the trials only – a Passport will be required for international travel.
To make the trial as realistic as possible passengers are asked to bring one piece of hand luggage (a bag or case that would be carried on to the aircraft) and their hold luggage. Passengers may drive to the Airport and park in the car park and baggage carts will be available at the Terminal entrance to assist with taking baggage through to check-in.
Arriving Passengers Instructions
All volunteers playing the role of arriving passengers should present themselves to the Vehicle Control Point near the Combined Building at 11.00hrs. From there you will be escorted by Airport staff directly onto the apron.
Your ‘flight’ will arrive at 11.30hrs. To prepare for arrival at St Helena Airport, please have your Passport (or an alternative form of identification) and your luggage. Once you have completed the arrivals process, you will be able to relax in the public areas of the Terminal Building.
FRIDAY 13 MAY, 3PM TO 8PM
An ‘Open Day’ will also take place on Friday 13 May 2016, between 3pm and 8pm for members of the public to view the Airport facilities.
Staff will be on-hand to answer queries and to guide members of the public through the Airport facility. This will be an opportunity to visit the Terminal Building, to see the Rescue & Firefighting Services and the Air Traffic Control Tower in the Combined Building.
It is also planned to have the Runway lit up as if a flight was arriving. There will also be snacks on sale in the landside Restaurant and the airside Café. Car parking is available in the Airport car park.
The Airport Open Day will close promptly at 8pm, when the traffic boom near Bradley’s will be closed to incoming traffic.
Members of the public are asked to kindly drive with care. Persons wishing to travel to Bottom Woods and through to Bradley’s to view the Runway lights are asked to adhere to signage in place. There will be no vehicle access allowed to Horse Point.
11 May 2016
St Helena Government today confirms that further safety and operational work is required prior to the Official Opening of the Island’s new Airport – and that this event has therefore been postponed. While this means that the Airport will not officially open on 21 May 2016 as originally planned, the safety of aircraft and passengers is of course paramount.
Last week the Island’s Air Service Provider, Comair, brought a Boeing 737-800 aircraft to St Helena on an ‘Implementation Flight’. The crew was able to gather real time information on the conditions at St Helena’s new Airport to assist in preparations for the commencement of scheduled air services. The objectives of the Implementation Flight included route assessment, airside operations, passenger and cargo handling, training and various aspects of safety at St Helena Airport.
One outcome of the Implementation Flight has been the gathering of additional data on turbulence and windshear on the approach to Runway 20 (from the North). As a result of the data gathered and the conditions experienced, it has been decided that there is some additional work to be done in order to ensure the safe operation of scheduled passenger flights to and from St Helena Airport.
Windshear refers to a change in wind speed or direction, including a rapid change over a short distance. Difficult wind conditions, including turbulence and windshear, are encountered and safely managed at many airports around the world.
All parties are now working hard to get a better understanding of how windshear conditions can be mitigated at St Helena Airport – assessing what measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of incoming aircraft landing on Runway 20. Everyone involved remains committed to commencing commercial flights to and from St Helena at the earliest possible opportunity.
SHG – working with all parties – has taken the decision to postpone the planned Official Opening Ceremony until a solution is found to manage this important safety issue.
The Official Opening of St Helena Airport will now take place at a later date which has yet to be determined.
The public will be kept informed as this work progresses.
26 April 2016