St Helena Int. Airport

Saint Helena Interrnational Airport is a green field airport under construction in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The airport is owned by the Saint Helena Government (SHG) and will be operated by Basil Read in partnership with Lanseria Airport for a contractual period of ten years.

The new airport project was approved by the UK Government in 2011. Construction started in 2012 and the airport is scheduled to open in 2016.

Once operational, the airport will significantly reduce the travel time from Cape Town, South Africa, to St Helena, which would take seven days on the RMS St Helena, the only means of travel to and from the island, to just five hours.

In addition to providing air access, the airport will also address some of the socio-economic problems of St Helena and make it financially independent.

The airport has been assigned ‘HLE’ by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ‘FHSH’ by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

St Helena airport facilities

The new airport will feature two main buildings, namely a passenger terminal building and a combined building, as well as a number of smaller ancillary buildings.

The combined building was the first facility constructed at the airport. It will house a number of auxiliary functions required for the airport operations, including air traffic control, rescue and firefighting services, and meteorological office.

Construction of the 2,500m² terminal building was initiated in June 2014.

The ancillary buildings include generator compound, access control building and storage compound.

The project also includes the construction of a 14km access road connecting the airport to the Rupert’s valley, a new wharf in Rupert’s, a bulk fuel installation in the valley and an inshore sea rescue facility.

Runway and aprons

St Helena Airport will feature a 1,950m-long concrete runway, designated 20/02. It will have a landing distance (LDA) of 1,550m, take-off run available (TORA) of 1,850m, take-off distance available (TODA) of 2,775m and accelerate stop distance available (ASDA) of 1,850m.

The runway will be able to accommodate Code C aircraft such as the Boeing 737-700 or Airbus 319. It will be accompanied by aprons for two aircraft, taxiways, and a bulk fuel installation for six litres of diesel and aviation fuel.

Contractors involved

South African construction firm Basil Read has been appointed as the design build and operate (DBO) contractor for the airport in November 2011.

The design and build phase extends for four years, following which the company will handle the airport operations in partnership with Lanseria Airport for a period of ten years.

The scope of the DBO contract includes construction of the entire airport infrastructure and facilities. During the operations phase, the company will provide all the required services such as air traffic control, and training and deployment of firemen.

All the raw material required for the airport construction is being transferred to the island on a 2,500t ship specially chartered by Basil. The company also constructed berthing and uploading facilities to facilitate the same. It employed more than 600 people during the construction phase, while more than 100 off-island personnel were involved in logistics, design and support functions.

"The airport will also address some of the socio-economic problems of St Helena and make it financially independent."

Other contractors involved with the project include Halcrow, which offered project management services, and Penspen, the fuel management contractor for managing bulk fuel installation and airport fuel facility (AFF).South Africa-based KMH Architects designed the terminal building and other facilities for the project.

South African aviation and travel company Comair will offer air services at the airport. The airline will provide services from the island to regional and international destinations, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Hong Kong and Sydney, as well as connections through Johannesburg.


Estimated total investment for the project is £250m ($363.76m), which includes £201.5m for design and construction, up to £35.1m for the ten-year operation, and £10m for shared risk contingency.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the project is currently the biggest single investment made in St Helena Island.

Parking at St Helena airport

A facility with designated parking spaces for private vehicles, motorcycles, buses and taxis will be located outside the terminal building. The facility will also provide disabled-access parking.