The Government of St Helena has awarded a R2.7bn ($339.44m) contract to South Africa-based Basil Read to design, build, operate and transfer an airport on the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The UK Department for International Development will fund the project, which will make the island accessible by air, as well as increase the number of annual visitors to the island from approximately 900 to 30,000.

The project involves the construction of a 1,850m runway with a taxiway and apron to accommodate the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-800, and a rockfill embankment, through which a 750m-long reinforced concrete culvert will run.

The project includes a 3,500m2 airport terminal building and support infrastructure, air traffic control and safety features, bulk fuel installation for six million litres of diesel and aviation fuel, a 14km access road and related logistics.

On completion, the operations phase of the airport contract will continue its partnership with Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg for another ten years under a Z450m contract.

The construction project will be completed within four years.

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