Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions Section

Here you will find answers to the most common queries raised with the Airport Project.  If you should require further information please contact the St Helena Government Public Relations Office, via email kerisha.stevens@sainthelena.gov.sh

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Background

Design and Construction

Environmental Considerations

Emergency Planning Considerations

Health Considerations

Airport Certification and Operational Readiness

Air Service Provider

Operations

Aviation Ordinance

Air Accident Regulations

Aerodrome Regulations

Aerodrome Charges Regulations

Background

Q. What is the Airport DBO Contract?

A. The Design Build and Operate (DBO) Contract is a contract between the St Helena Government (SHG) and Basil Read to Design, Build and Operate St Helena’s Airport.

The Design and Build aspects of the Airport Project are scheduled for completion in 2016. Basil Read is then contracted to operate the Airport for 10 years, after which time the Airport will be returned to the Employer in accordance with the contract.

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Q. What is the Airport Project?

A. The Airport Project will design, provide, maintain and operate an Airport on St Helena. The specific responsibilities assigned to the Design Build and Operate (DBO) Contractor, Basil Read include the provision of:

  • An airport with associated infrastructure

(A runway, an apron area, combined building with ATC Tower, a terminal building and supporting air and landside facilities)

  • An Access Road connecting the Airport to Rupert’s
  • A new Wharf in Rupert’s
  • A Bulk Fuel Installation in Rupert’s Valley
  • Inshore Sea Rescue Facility

The Airport Project includes much more than this in order to have a fully functioning airport.  In addition to the main construction works, the project also involves communications/ publicity, port facilities at Rupert’s, reinterment of human remains, planning for operations phase, Airport Certification etc.

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Q.How much does it cost?

A. The project costs around £250 million. £201.5 million will be for the design and construction of the airport, an additional up to £10 million in shared risk contingency, and £35.1 million for ten years of operation.

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Q. How is it funded?

A. The project is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

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Q. Who is involved in the Airport Project?

A. The following stakeholders are involved in the Design, Build and Operate (DBO) Contract:

  • Employer – SHG
  • Employee – Basil Read
  • Project Management Unit – Halcrow

The following stakeholders are involved in the Airport Project:

  • Air Safety Support International (ASSI)

The regulator for St Helena Airport

  • Programme Board

Comprises of senior representatives from stakeholder organisations (DFID, FCO and SHG).  Their role is to ensure programme activities are delivered on time, within approved budget and within agreed quality specifications.

  • DFID Project Team

Responsible to DFID senior management for the use of DFID funds; planning, guiding, providing overall management, administering the main inputs to the project, and monitoring project outputs.

  • 2020 Board

The purpose of the Board is to be the interface between the St Helena Airport Programme Board and the various other stakeholder groups within the Airport Project management structure. In addition to ensuring that St Helena Government’s role in the airport project is fulfilled, the 2020 Board focus is on ensuring that St Helena is access ready by the time the first scheduled flights arrive on Prosperous Bay.

  • Project Management Unit

Responsible for ground management and construction supervision of the DBO Contract for the Airport.

  • SHG Access Office

The functional link between the Airport Project and SHG.

  • Basil Read

The Contractor under the Design, Build and Operate Contract for the Airport.

  • Lanseria

Basil Read’s consultant for airport operations.

  • Comair

The Air Service Provider for the scheduled weekly service to the island.

  • Penspen

The Fuel Management Contractor who will manage the permanent Bulk Fuel Installation (BFI) and the Airport Fuel Facility (AFF).

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Q. Why not simply replace the RMS with another ship?

A. The economic viability of St Helena is dependent upon access.  A comprehensive feasibility study carried out by Atkins in 2004 demonstrated a clear economic and social case for air access.  This is also the expressed desire of the St Helena people.

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Q. What is the project trying to achieve?

A. The Airport Project aims to provide air access to St Helena, fulfilling the UK Government’s commitment to maintain access to the Island, and at the same time providing St Helena with a real opportunity for economic growth through tourism

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Q. Is the construction of the airport linked to SHELCO or any other developer?

A. Whilst it is intended that the Airport Project will serve as a catalyst for economic development on St Helena, there is no direct link between construction of the airport and any developer on St Helena.

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Q. Who will the airport belong to?

A. The airport will belong solely to the St Helena Government.

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Q. Will this affect DFID’s aid package to St Helena?

A. Funding for the airport will be in addition to current budgetary and development aid allocations for St Helena.  There is no direct link between the funding for air access and other DFID support to St Helena, though we expect that improved access will lead to increased economic development on the Island, and a reduction in the requirement for budgetary support in the long term.

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Q. Will the introduction of air access mean that St Helena will become self-sufficient?

A. This is a joint aim of both SHG and DFID.  The introduction of air access will provide St Helena with an opportunity to boost economic development through tourism and other activities, and in time to increase the level of self-sufficiency.

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Design and Construction

 Specifications

Q. What type of aircraft can the St Helena Airport accommodate?

A. St Helena Airport will be able to accommodate Code C aircraft such as the Boeing 737-700 or Airbus 319. It will also be able to accommodate the Boeing 737-800 or Airbus A320, subject to weight restrictions.  Similarly, it will also be able to accommodate some Code D aircraft such as the Boeing 757-200, but again these will most likely be subject to weight restrictions.

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General

Q. How many people are employed on the St Helena Airport Project?

A. At the height of the project, with major construction taking place in Dry Gut and with 24 hour working 6 days per week at PBP, Basil Read employed 610 staff comprising of the following:

Basil Read

SA and others – 210 (96 of which are from Thailand)

Saints – 333

Sub-contractors

SA and others – 36

Saints – 31

A number of other staff are also employed on the Airport Project in various functions e.g. teams in Basil Read, Halcrow, SHG and DFID are also engaged in related works.

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The Runway

Q. What is the Runway End Safety Area?

A. This is an area at each end of the runway in case an aircraft undershoots or overshoots the designated take-off or landing area of the runway.

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Q. How long is the Runway?

Access Table

Q. Is the runway completed?

A. The runway was completed in August 2015.

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The Airport Buildings

Q. What are the airport buildings?

A. There are two  main airport buildings

  • Combined Building which will house services to support airport operations, e.g. Air Traffic Control, Rescue & Fire Fighting Services, meteorological office, etc
  • Terminal Building

In addition, there are smaller ancillary buildings.  These include the Generator Compound, the Access Control Building and the Storage Compound.

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Q. When will they be completed?

A. The Combined and Terminal Building has been constructed and is now on snag rectification. Final completion of all infrastructure is not expected until early 2017.

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The Access Road

Q. How long is the Airport Access Road?

A. The Access Road is approximately 14km long.

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Q. Why is it no longer called the haul road?

A. The Haul Road was the original track created to transport equipment and machinery to the Airport Site at Prosperous Bay.  This track has now been realigned and will be upgraded.  Upon completion, it will be become a public highway.

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Q. When will the access road be completed?

A. The Access Road is due for completion and handover at the end of the contract in 2016.

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Q. Who will be responsible for maintaining it?

A. SHG Roads Division will be responsible for maintenance of the access road.

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Q. Can I drive on the access road?

A. The road will only be opened to the public after it has been officially handed over to SHG and adopted as a public highway.

Currently the Access Road, as part of Airport Project construction, is necessarily closed to the public in most areas and signs clearly indicate when access is restricted.  Unauthorised use of the Road might result in an accident, and all such unauthorised usage will be reported to the police and dealt with appropriately.

Use of the road by the public is unsafe as there are continuous heavy plant movements all week (including weekends), and excavations on the road are not protected in the same way as they are on public roads.

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The Permanent Bulk Fuel Installation (BFI)

Q. What does the permanent BFI comprise?

A. The Permanent BFI includes 4 Gasoil Tanks, 2 Aviation Fuel Tanks, 2 Gasoline Tanks and associated infrastructure. Each tank has the capacity of 975,000 litres.

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Q. What will happen to the existing BFI?

A. The existing BFI is due to be decommissioned following the handover of the new facility.

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Q. Who will be responsible for managing the permanent BFI?

A. The Fuel Management Contract has been awarded to Penspen who will manage the new BFI on behalf of SHG.

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Rupert’s Wharf

Q. Will vessels be able to come alongside Rupert’s Wharf?

A. Yes, the wharf will accommodate vessels to the length of 105m with a draft of 5.5m.

Upon decommissioning of the RMS in mid-2016, a replacement shipping service will supply the island.  The new shipping service will provide a vessel that can dock alongside the wharf in Rupert’s.  Due to its size, the fuel tanker will continue to moor offshore.

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Q. When will Rupert’s Wharf be complete?

A. The Wharf is due for completion in early 2017. Work will be taking place alongside this to plan for cargo handling operations in Rupert’s when the new shipping service is in place.

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Environmental Considerations

Q. What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

A. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process by which the anticipated effects on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured. If the likely effects are unacceptable, design measures or other relevant mitigation measures can be taken to reduce or avoid those effects.

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Q. How will any negative environmental impacts arising from the Airport Project be mitigated?

A. There are a number of ways in which impacts will be mitigated. Firstly, the project has been designed, as far as possible, in a manner which avoids causing impacts e.g. routing the access road to avoid areas which may be sensitive. Where impacts cannot be avoided measures are taken to reduce impacts e.g. restricting the area where the DBO contractor can work, restricting construction activities near residential properties. A further way of mitigating impacts involves reinstatement and compensation e.g. reinstating areas affected by construction, landscape planting and habitat creation. Mitigation also provides opportunities to enhance the environment e.g. habitat management for the Wirebird. All mitigation measures are set out in the Environmental Assessment Report and Environmental Management Plan.

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Q. What is the Environmental Management Plan? Who monitors the DBO contractor to ensure compliance with the EMP?

A. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is a document that sets out commitments to mitigating environmental impacts. The DBO contractor must comply with these commitments.
The DBO Contractor has a detailed Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) that addresses specific procedures for protecting the natural and human environments during the construction period, and identify the roles and responsibilities of his team and procedures for communicating with interested parties and the local community. An Environmental Monitor forms part of the Project Management Unit and monitors the DBO Contractor’s compliance with the EMP and CEMP.

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Q. What has the project done to protect the wirebird and other endemic species?

A. In the first instance, the Project has sought to avoid direct impacts on the habitats supporting the Wirebird and other important endemic species of plants and invertebrates.  Where it has not been possible to avoid disturbance in certain areas we have minimised the area to be affected.  There are strict controls on the DBO Contractor during construction to prevent damage to the species and habitats in areas which will not be affected by the works; such measures include fencing of some of the areas to be protected.

Measures to re-create, restore and enhance habitat in areas were included in a Wirebird Mitigation Plan, funded by DFID and managed with the help of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).  Habitat on the graded areas adjacent to the runway strip will be restored, and given successful planting and colonisation by invertebrates, may increase the available habitat for the Wirebird on Prosperous Bay Plain.

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Q. How much noise and pollution will the airport create?

A. During operation the Airport will not generate significant increases in noise or any other pollution.  The number of aircraft movements at the airfield will be low and the flight paths will not pass over any residential areas or properties.  During construction noise and dust will increase for a temporary period due to activities at Prosperous Bay Plain, access roads and the wharf in Rupert’s Bay.

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Q. What has happened to the environmentally sensitive area on Prosperous Bay Plain and the endemic invertebrates that live there?

A. The Central Basin is recognised as the most ecologically sensitive area on the Plain and therefore in need of strict protection.   It is estimated that approximately 11% of the Central Basin will be unavoidably disturbed by the construction of the runway.  The Environmental Management Plan includes strict requirements for the protection of this area before, during and after construction, and for subsequent ecological restoration on the Plain more generally.

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Q. Did the EIA consider issues relating to the introduction of alien invasive species of plants or animals through air access?

A. Such issues relating directly to airport operations were addressed in the environmental impact assessment with a requirement in The Environmental Management Plan to assist in the prevention of the introduction of non-native species and pest by the St Helena Government Biosecurity team.  The airport has facilities for inspection and storage of cargo, as well as X-ray capability to detect organic matter.

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Emergency Planning Considerations

Q. In the event of an air disaster, how would the island cope?

A. Adequate rescue and fire fighting services form part of the operational requirements of the airport, and will be provided by the Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contractor.  SHG, with the continued support of DFID’s Disaster Management Adviser and in consultation with the DBO contractor, will develop appropriate plans to deal with this sort of emergency.

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Q. Is it true that the Sea Rescue Service is moving to Rupert’s?

A. Yes, all the Sea Rescue assets will be in Rupert’s including the current SHG rescue boat, the “Lima”.

A Sea Rescue Facility is being constructed in Rupert’s; it will accommodate the Sea Rescue Service which will include 6 full time and 8 auxiliary members.  The Facility will house the SHG rescue boat and two RIBs which are provided by the Airport Project.  It will provide a round-the-clock sea rescue service to maritime and aviation operations

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Q. What are RIBs?

A. RIBs are Rigid Inflatable Boats that are very popular in Sea Rescue Service’s around the world.

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Q. Will the airport have its own fire service?

A. The Airport will have its own Rescue and Firefighting Service. The St Helena Fire and Rescue Service will provide back-up and support, particularly in the event of an emergency.

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Q. Will SHG have sufficient staff to cope in the event of a disaster?

A. Yes, the Island’s Major Incident Response Plan encompasses all SHG Departments and their assets and also some of our private sector partners and their assets.  There is a joint and collaborative approach through the establishment of a St Helena Resilience Forum so that resources (people and assets) from SHG and its partners could be called upon in the event of an emergency.

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Q. Will the hospital be able to cope with a major accident?

A. Health Services form an essential part of the Major Incident Response Plan. Planning is already underway for the worst case but unlikely scenario of a disaster.  It is recognised that the hospital has the capacity to provide an initial response but in the event of a disaster external support would need to be sought.

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Health Considerations

Q. How will we stop new infections coming in?

A. It is not possible to completely stop new infections coming in.  Better access for people will mean better access for infections also. However there are things that St Helena can do to help detect them early and deal with them:

  • Measures will be put in place to ensure aircraft are disinsected and disinfected in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations to stop the spread of diseases around the world
  • SHG has already put in place contingency plans for pandemic flu
  • SHG is required to implement the International Health Regulations which will improve the ability to detect new infections and stop their spread
  • Considerable work has been done to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS on St Helena

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Q. Do the workers on the Airport Project undergo medical screening? Does this include screening for HIV?

A. Yes workers do undergo medical screening.

There is generally no public health reason for screening for HIV.  HIV cannot be transmitted by mere presence of a person with HIV in a country.  HIV is transmitted through specific behaviours that are usually private and prevention required voluntary acts.

In order not to place an additional burden on the Public Health Service, workers are advised to screen for HIV prior to coming to St Helena: this in order to ensure that they are prescribed the appropriate treatment and carry sufficient medicine with them for their stay on-island.

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Q. Basil Read employs a significant number of expatriate workers. Has this placed additional pressure on the Public Health Service?

A. Basil Read employs its own paramedic who supports Basil Read workers on routine aspects.  The Public Health Service assists whenever called upon to do so.

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Airport Certification and Operational Readiness

 Q. Will the Governor be responsible for matters relating to air access?

A. Whilst the Governor is responsible for matters relating to air access, much of these responsibilities are delegated to Air Safety Support International (a subsidiary of the UK Civil Aviation Authority), which oversees civil aviation safety regulation in Overseas Territories.

Air Safety Support International (ASSI) performs civil aviation regulatory tasks on behalf of the Governor and supports the safety regulation of all aspects of civil aviation.  This includes the licensing of personnel and the certification of aircraft, airlines, airports and air traffic control; it will therefore be ASSI who will certify St Helena Airport for aviation operations.  However, matters relating to civil aviation security remain within the remit of the Governor, with support from SHG directorates, the Airport Operator and the Air Service Provider.

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Q. How will SHG regulate the airport?

A. As previously noted, ASSI will regulate the airport in terms of its safety and operations.  This will necessitate an initial certification process, and then ongoing checks to ensure safety measures continue to meet the stringent standards necessary for airport operations.

Close liaison between the Airport Operator and the various SHG departments operating at the airport will be in place through the establishment of various committees and forums; wider issues such as the management of security and the provision of ground-transportation operations will form part of various directorate responsibilities once the airport is operational.  SHG will also have an Airport Contract Manager who will manage the contractual interface between SHG and the Airport Operator.

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Q. Is the St Helena Airport now certified?

A. Yes. St Helena Airport gained airport certification on 10 May 2016. ASSI issued an Aerodrome Certificate to St Helena Airport having been satisfied that the airport infrastructure complies with international aviation safety and security standards. This followed an inspection of the Airport by an ASSI team in April 2016.

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Q. Is St Helena Airport Operational?

A. St Helena Airport is certified and open and has successfully accommodated charter and medevac flights, however work is underway to manage issues of turbulence and wind shear experienced by the Air Service provider – Comair Implementation Flight.

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Q. How can ASSI say the Airport meets safety standards when there is wind shear?

A. Airport Certification and operational readiness are parallel processes. Wind shear and turbulence is a separate issue which will not affect the certification of St Helena Airport.

ASSI has undertaken its assessment of St Helena Airport and has determined that it complies with the required international aviation and security standards. One of the aspects relating to safety is that St Helena Airport has been classified as a category C Aerodrome. Category C aerodromes have additional considerations for the approach, landing or take-off of aircraft.

The regulator (ASSI), the British and South African Civil Aviation Authorities, plus the UK Met Office, are all being consulted. In particular, ASSI needs to see that pilots are made fully aware of the issues and that the Airport has put in place appropriate guidance.

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Q. When will a scheduled Commercial Flights commence to St Helena and  Ascension?

A. It is an operational decision for St Helena Airport, fully supported by all parties involved in the Airport Project that commercial operations will not commence until we have concluded the current process of mitigating weather effects.

Safety is paramount and there is more that can be done to understand issues of turbulence and wind shear and to mitigate against these.  We will take the time to complete these before commencing commercial operations.

All parties are looking at the work that now needs to be done and the timescales and implications that might flow from this

Many airports around the world operate safely in difficult wind conditions, including turbulence and windshear.  St Helena Airport will not be any different

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Q. Will you be bringing in Medevac flights and other flights now that the Airport has achieved certification? How is this different to Comair or Atlantic Star commencing flights?

A. Yes, Medevac flights are accommodated and are assessed on a case by case basis.  SHG will be entering into a contract with a medevac service provider shortly.

In light of the turbulence and wind shear experienced by the Comair Implementation Flight, work is now underway to assess what measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of aircraft landing at St Helena Airport.  Full commercial operations will not commence until these measures are in place, safety being paramount.

Alongside this, we are committed to ensuring continuing access to and from St Helena.  For example, should it be necessary to put in place interim arrangements, we are investigating the possibility of using different aircraft

Different aircraft perform differently in the same conditions so there are potential technical solutions

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Airport Operations

Q. Will St Helena Airport be a military airport?

A. No. St Helena airport is a commercial airport operated on behalf of the St Helena Government.

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Q. Who will set the level of charges for the airport?

A. St Helena government will determine charges at the St Helena Airport.

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Q. What will happen if the flight has to be diverted due to bad weather or technical problems?

A. Emergency and diversion arrangements will only be finalised during negotiations with Comair, and with the USA on the use of Wideawake Airfield on Ascension.  We expect to be able nominate Wideawake as a designated diversionary airfield, but this cannot be confirmed yet.  However, in the event of an emergency, flights would be allowed to land there.

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Q. Will we have an Open Skies Policy?

A. Yes. we will be operating an open skies policy at ST Helena Airport.

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Aviation Ordinance

Q. What issues does the Aviation Ordinance cover?

A. The Aviation Ordinance covers a broad range of issues relating to aviation. These include:

  1. planning and development of buildings and structures that may affect aviation operations;
  2. the ability to detain aircraft in certain circumstances;
  3. the exemption from seizure of aircraft parts in relation to patent claims;
  4. trespassing on the Airport or at the Bulk Fuel Installation;
  5. unauthorised presence onboard aircraft;
  6. powers to question, search and arrest;
  7. public health and environmental issues;
  8. the application of law to the wreck and salvage of aircraft;
  9. the power for the Governor In Council to make Regulations.

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Q. How does the aviation ordinance affect planning and the development of houses and buildings?

A. There are various restrictions on planning and development in respect of aviation requirements; these are put in place to ensure the safe and secure operations of the Airport. They are also required to ensure the flight path of aircraft is safe and free from obstacles or hindrances that could endanger an aircraft such as reflections and dazzling light.  The Governor in Council therefore has the authority to:

  1. require the total or partial demolition of any building or structure;
  2. restrict the height of trees;
  3. remove the private right of way;
  4. restrict the installation of cables, mains, pipes, wires and other apparatus;
  5. give notice to remove the rights to install or maintain apparatus on land after those rights have expired;
  6. require apparatus to be removed prior to the end of the notice period mentioned above.
  7. Appeals in connection with the above will be conducted in accordance with the Land Planning and Development Control Ordinance.

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Q. What powers do the aerodrome security officers have?

A. The Aerodrome Security Officers are employed by the Airport Operator and are not part of the St Helena Police Service. However they do have the powers of detention and arrest, and therefore giving a false statement to a security officer or not complying with any reasonable request they may make is an offence.

Similarly, if a trespasser at the Bulk Fuel Installation (BFI) in Ruperts is asked to leave by the Fuel Management Contractor but fails to do so, they are in breach of this Ordinance.

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Q. How is Public Health and environment protected by the Aviation Ordinance?

A. The Ordinance requires that aircraft are disinsected and disinfected in line with St Helena policy.

Disinsection is the use of approved pesticides to eliminate the possibility of insects and food stuffs bringing diseases to St Helena (such as malaria).  Disinfection involves the cleaning of the aircraft on a routine basis i.e. between flights, and after a bio-hazard incident has occurred.

The Ordinance also requires waste from aircraft to be properly disposed of at the Horsepoint Landfill site, that hazardous substances are not brought on to the island unless permission has been given and the necessary safety measures have been implemented, and that activities that generate waste hazardous to the environment are controlled and contamination is prevented.

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Q. The ordinance makes reference to Regulations and Byelaws – what are these?

A. The Governor in Council can make Regulations in respect of the Airport. This will include activities that are prohibited, those that require permission, and define other arrangements such as vehicle parking and how to manage lost baggage.

The Aviation Ordinance allows Governor in Council to make these Regulations and as such “Aerodrome Regulations” are currently being finalised.  These Regulations are similar to the byelaws that are usually found at airports in the UK.  Since St Helena has not needed to make use of byelaws, Regulations will be used instead to govern airport-related activities.

The Regulations were approved by ExCo in June 2015.

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Air Accident Regulations

Q. Why are Air Accident regulations required?

A. In the event of an accident or incident involving an aircraft (whether that be in the air or on the ground), an accident or incident report needs to be written to describe what happened and to see whether any lessons can be learned from it.

An air accident investigation is not meant to apportion blame, rather to understand what happened, to see whether any processes or procedures need to be changed, and to try to prevent the accident or incident from reoccurring.

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Q. what do the Air Accident Regulations cover?

A. The Air Accident Regulations apply to accidents or incidents that occur on or around St Helena, or involve aircraft registered in St Helena. They only apply to civil aviation activities.

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Q. What is the difference between an accident and an incident?

A. In general, an accident usually describes a serious occurrence such as an aircraft crash, or where considerable damage is done to aircraft or ground installations. An accident would most likely involve injuries (sometimes serious or fatal) and would likely involve all emergency services on island.

An incident is a less serious occurrence that can usually be dealt with by airport emergency services or personnel, and would involve minimal or no injuries to people.  An example of an incident might be a small leak or a burst tyre that caused only minor inconvenience to passengers and crew.

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Q. Who needs to be advised of an accident or incident?

A. The Governor will need to be officially notified of an accident or incident that occurs in or around St Helena, or where an aircraft registered in St Helena is involved in an accident or incident elsewhere.

As the regulator for air safety in St Helena, Air Safety Support International (ASSI) will also need to be notified, and where an accident or incident occurs in or around St Helena, the Chief of Police will also need to be notified

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Q. How is a damage or disabled aircraft moved?

A. Once the immediate work of attending to an accident or incident has completed, there may be a need to move or remove a disabled aircraft. Depending on where an aircraft comes to rest and the severity of the damage sustained by the aircraft, St Helena will have access to various pieces of equipment that can assist with the move or removal of disabled aircraft; this includes lifting gear, inflatable bags, and tractor units that can pull an aircraft.

In most cases, an air accident investigation would need to take place and therefore aircraft and aircraft parts will only be removed once the investigators and authorities have given permission to do so.

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Q. Who will conduct an air accident investigation and what powers will they have?

A. Although the Governor is responsible for the safety of aviation operations on St Helena, they are supported by UK-based organisations called Air Safety Support International (ASSI) and the Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB). When an air accident investigation is required, the Governor (with support from ASSI) will appoint investigators from the AAIB to come to St Helena and conduct an investigation into the causes of the accident.

When they arrive, the air accident investigators will have the authority to take statements, inspect any area or anything relevant to the accident including flight recorders, preserve evidence, and liaise with authorities such as the emergency services and the Coroner.  They can also view records, reports and procedures associated with the aircraft, the aircraft owner and all those involved in aviation activity such as the Airport Operator, St Helena Government and any other international organisation relevant to the investigation.

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Q. What will an air accident report contain?

A. Once completed, an air accident report will be sent to the Governor and all other interested parties who would benefit from the findings with regards to safety. Its key role is to make safety recommendations.  The Governor is then responsible for the timely implementation of those recommendations, or where they are not achievable, give an explanation as to why.

If, however, the publication of the report is likely to cause distress to individuals, the Governor will advise them in advance of the publication and consider any representations made to them in respect of its contents.

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Aerodrome Regulations

Q. What aspects of the Airport do the aerodrome regulations cover?

A. The Aerodrome Regulations describe what is and what is not permitted at the Airport.  They are designed to ensure that the safety and security of aircraft, passengers, crew, staff and visitors is maintained at all times.

The Regulations define acts that are prohibited and those that require permission.  They also refer to parts of the Airport which are subject to restrictions, and covers other activities such as transportation, driving at the Airport, and lost property.  Penalties for contravening the Regulations are also defined.

A list of prohibited acts and those requiring permission from the Aerodrome Manager can be found at the end of this FAQ.

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Q. Do the aerodrome regulations just apply to the aircraft?

A. No.  Not only do they apply to the Airport, they also extend to all other areas of the island where aviation-related equipment is located.  These include the navigation installations located outside of the Airport and the Remote Obstacle Lights (ROLs) that are dotted around the east of the island.

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Q. What parts of the Airport are restricted?

A. Any part of the aerodrome designated as “security restricted” can only be entered once certain security requirements have been satisfied.  For example, access to a security restricted area is only allowed for those with a valid Aerodrome Pass (such as staff working at the Airport who need to go into a security restricted area).  Similarly, having passed through the relevant security checks, passengers with a valid boarding pass are also allowed into some of the security restricted areas such as the departure lounges.

Within the Terminal building, security restricted areas include the departure lounges and baggage reclaim, customs and elements of the cargo areas, and areas where security checks are carried out.  Areas outside of the Terminal building which are also security restricted include the Vehicle Control Point, the Combined building, the apron, taxiway and runway, and anywhere within the perimeter fence.

Security restricted areas do not encompass the main concourse (which includes the Arrivals area), shops, children’s play area and the 1st floor restaurant.

All users of the Airport (including members of the emergency services) will be required to go through security checks when entering a security restricted area unless doing so in an emergency.

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Q. Can i bring a pet to the Airport?

A. No.  Pets are not allowed at the Airport unless they are being transported to/from St Helena, or if they are a working animal such as a Guide Dog or security dog.

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Q. How is parking controlled at the Airport?

A. There are designated parking bays for private vehicles, motorcycles, buses and taxis outside the Terminal building; disabled-access parking is also available.  Taxis wishing to ply for trade at the Airport will require the permission of the Aerodrome Manager, but can do so in a dedicated parking area set aside for them.

Parking will be time-limited, so passengers and visitors will not be able to leave vehicles at the Airport indefinitely; actual time limits will be displayed on notices at the Airport and will be available on the Airport website.

It is not permissible to wash down or clean a vehicle at the Airport, neither is it permitted to carry out major maintenance on a vehicle.

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Q. How is lost property dealt with at the airport?

A. Passengers and visitors must keep their belongings with them at all times to ensure the safety and security of the Airport is maintained.  If, however, passengers or visitors become parted from their baggage or property, it is best to check with the Lost Property department to see if it has been handed in.

Unattended baggage or property is considered a security risk and as such security personnel are permitted to remove it, open it and if it appears to be suspect, destroy it.

As such, it is very important that passengers and visitors keep their personal belongings with them at all times to avoid creating an unnecessary security alert.

Lost property immediately returned to its rightful owner will be done so without charge, but if lost property needs to be stored for any length of time, the Airport Operator is permitted to charge for its storage.

Lost property will be stored for up to six months, possibly less if the property is hazardous or likely to degrade.  If it is not claimed by its rightful owner within that time, it will be either sold, given to charity or disposed of.  Perishable goods will be sold or disposed of within 48 hours of being handed into the Lost Property department.  Records of lost property will be kept for a minimum of 12 months.

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Q. What are the penalties for contravention of the Aerodrome Regulations?

A. A maximum fine of £2000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months (or both) can be imposed if the Aerodrome Regulations are contravened

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Q. What other aviation legislation covers St Helena?

A. As well as the Aerodrome Regulations, there is additional legislation in place.  Air Accident Regulations determine how air accidents are managed; Aerodrome Charges Regulations define the cost of landing and parking at the Airport.  The Aviation Ordinance makes a range of provisions for general aviation activities on island including the giving the Governor in Council power to make Regulations.

In addition to these local laws, the Aviation Security and Piracy (Overseas Territories) Order and the Air Navigation (Overseas Territory) Order from the UK apply to St Helena.  The latter defines many aspects of flying in St Helenian airspace, whilst also making rules to ensure flying is safe.  For example, it imposes restrictions on the use of drones (also known as Small Unmanned Aircraft), balloons, kites and laser pens.

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Prohibited Activities

The following activities are not permitted at the Airport or at sites outside of the Airport where aviation-related equipment is installed:

Skateboarding or playing ball games that cause an annoyance

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Activities requiring Permission

The following activities are permitted at the Airport, but only with permission.  Those wishing to participate in the following activities will need to contact Nigel Spackman, Aerodrome Manager:

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Aerodrome Charges Regulations

Q. Why are Aerodrome Charges required?

A. International airports charge airlines and aircraft owners for the use of airports. The fees are collected to pay for the running of the airport and for the facilities provided to airlines and aircraft owners.  In St Helena, this includes the costs associated with the provision of St Helena Government areas of responsibility including immigration, customs and biosecurity.

Charges are levied on aircraft which land and park at St Helena Airport; the amount charged will depend upon the weight of the aircraft and the length of time it remains on the ground.  Aircraft which depart from St Helena and then land within one hour of departure will not be charged again to land.

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Q. What is the passenger Service Charge?

A. The Passenger Service Charge (also known in other countries as the Airport Improvement Fee or Embarkation Fee) is a fee introduced by many airports to cover the costs associated with providing passenger terminal facilities.

In St Helena it is a charge for the use of the passenger terminal building including its facilities and installations, and for the provision of security measures.  It is only payable by passengers leaving St Helena by air.

Staff and visitors using the Airport (and not departing as a passenger) will not have to pay the Passenger Service Charge.

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Q. How much is the passenger service charge?

A. The costs are as follows:

Passengers under 2 years old – £0

Passengers between 2 and 12 years old – £8.50

Passengers over 12 years old – £17.00

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Q. Who pays the Passenger Service Charge?

A. Except for passengers under the age of 2 and the exemptions noted in the question below (Are there exemptions to any of the charges?) everyone who departs St Helena on a flight to another destination will pay the Passenger Service Charge.

If an aircraft leaving St Helena must return for any reason, passengers will not have to pay again when the aircraft once again leaves St Helena for its planned destination.

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Q. Do I pay for the Passenger Service Charge separately?

A. The Air Service Provider will include the cost of the Passenger Service Charge in the airline ticket and it will be itemised separately.

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Q. Who does the passenger service Charge go to?

A. The Passenger Service Charge is paid directly by the Air Service Provider or aircraft owner to St Helena Government.

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Q. What other charges are levied?

A. There are charges for landing, parking [an aircraft] and opening the airport outside of normal operating hours; these are only payable by aircraft owners who use the Airport.

Landing charges are based on the weight of the aircraft landing at St Helena Airport; parking charges are incurred for aircraft parked for more than 4 hours and are based on the weight of the aircraft.  There is also a charge to open the airport if an aircraft is scheduled to arrive on a day that the airport is not ordinarily open.  These charges do not apply to certain situations such as aircraft making an emergency landing or those that are on search and rescue or humanitarian aid missions.

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Q. Are there exemptions to any of the charges?

A. There are certain exemptions to the Passenger Service Charge as well as to fees associated with the landing and parking of aircraft, and the opening of the airport outside of normal operating hours. These are only applicable to the following:

  1. diplomatic, government and military aircraft and their personnel on official duty;
  2. aircraft that are involved in search and rescue or volcano monitoring;
  3. aircraft requiring an emergency landing, including bomb threats;
  4. aircraft returning within one hour after take-off;
  5. members of the aircraft crew, when required for the performance of their duties;
  6. officials of airline companies travelling on the business of the airline company;
  7. transit passengers i.e. those passengers that are not intending on staying in St Helena.