Last week’s successful arrival and departure of the second largest aircraft at the St Helena Airport is now beginning to create a new motivated buzz on and off Island.
Tronis Aviation and Atlantic Star Airlines made a planned technical visit at St Helena’s airport whilst on route to South America, the stopover was also an opportunity for Atlantic Star Airlines to collect some much needed data and test the performance of the Tronis owned Avro RJ/BAE 146.
Prior to the planned visit it was table topped that a British built modified Avro RJ/BAE146 could be an ideal Aircraft that could be used as a solution for a regular commercial air service as soon as the Airport is opened for commercial flights.
Originally Comair was contracted to operate a Boeing 737 from Johannesburg to St Helena, however after the Comair implementation test flight it was deemed unsafe for commercial aircraft of that size to land at the airport due to wind shear that was discovered on arrival.
Despite all of the politics surrounding the St Helena airport with wind shear and safety issues, Atlantic star who was also due to operate long haul flights back in May from London remains passionate about helping to find a solution to offer an air service to the Island.
After the successful arrival of the Avro RJ on Friday Governor Lisa Phillips said “that she was pleased that Atlantic Star’s decision was made to come via St Helena, and this was not the solution as more data collection is required before a decision could be made on regular safe flights’’
If a commercial service was implemented sometime soon what does this mean for St Helena businesses and St Helena property owners?
This means that property owners would benefit almost immediately from potential regular tourist visiting the island as tourist would require accommodation of all types.
Property owners of holiday rental homes would see a sudden change in booking trends for their properties. At the present time there are no five star hotels on the Island although a new development project to complete a hotel in Jamestown is in progress and this will, when completed be operated by Mantis Hotel Group. Unfortunately the only Hotel (Consulate Hotel) that operates in Jamestown and offers full board facilities has recently announced via local media that it was closing its doors due to the lack of business, this means that hotel accommodation for visitors wanting full board will not be available at the Islands capital. Owners of self-catering rental holiday homes, apartments, bed and breakfasts will potentially become busier if the consulate remains close and the long awaited airport begins to operate commercially.
There is still a shortage of vacant rental properties on Island as a lot of the Islands rented holiday homes and holiday apartments are still been used by contractors and expats, it is thought that more holiday homes will become available nearer to the end of the year as contractors and other workers return home on the completion of their contracts on Island.