The isolation of the Island together with the potential for windshear has meant that St Helena Airport has been classed as a Category C airport. Category C airports have additional considerations for approach, landing or take-off. Difficult wind conditions, including turbulence and windshear, are encountered and safely managed at many airports around the world and St Helena Airport is no different.
There has been extensive work undertaken to understand and mitigate the potential for windshear at St Helena Airport. Safety is our number one priority. The decision on whether a flight takes place as scheduled rests with the pilot – flights will only take place when the pilot is confident that conditions are favourable.
During Airlink’s proving flight visit in August 2017, they carried out a total of 13 flight trials at St Helena Airport. These included ‘touch and go’ – where the aircraft circles the runway, comes in to land, touches the wheels to the runway, and immediately takes off again for another circuit. All of the trials were successful and subsequently the final approvals for the scheduled air service were granted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
All necessary regulatory approvals for the scheduled air service to St Helena are therefore in place. A short video of Airlink’s proving flight to St Helena is available at the following link: https://youtu.be/kiecNLqWrMA