In the middle of the South Atlantic, there’s a small island that remains one of the most remote locations on the Earth. It’s a relic of the British Empire, and the only reason most people know about it is due to historic relevance as Napoleon Bonaparte’s place of exile.


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To travel there, it can take over a month and there’s currently only one vessel that regularly sails the sometimes-treacherous waters that surround its splendorous shores.

If you’re not one of the 4500 that live there, you’ll have to be a pretty patient person to someday see it in real life. At least that will be the case until 2016, when the Island of St. Helena is finally due to get its very first airport.

A Major Change For Life And Work
From its discovery, through the days it was prison to one of Western Civilization’s most famous individuals, until today, the only standard means of reaching the island was to board the RMS St. Helena from Cape Town for a five and a half day journey.

Credit: David Stanley

With that in mind, the new airport, and weekly flights due to operate from South Africa and the United Kingdom, will mean a major change for life on St. Helena, including ample opportunities in the expanded tourism industry that many are anticipating.

Infrastructure To Ignite Tourism
Proponents of the new infrastructure addition are betting that change will amount to major economic gains. The first flights are planned for February of 2016.

With them, tourist numbers are expected to multiply twenty times over. Some have projected that 30,000 tourists will set foot on the island every year—which is a major increase from the 1500 visitors.

Credit: David Stanley

Finding The Right Planes For The Job
With this first ever air connection, tourism is expected to yield a substantial return on the transportation investment, but St. Helena has more to offer, including rare, high quality coffee exports and potential military advantages.

One of the major challenges in opening St. Helena for flight was finding the right planes for the job. The Boeing 757 and Boeing 737 were eventually chosen. The new airport runway has been constructed on a filled gorge of the mountainous terrain. Currently, runway lighting, navaids and other infrastructure essentials are being added.

What are your thoughts on connecting St. Helena with the rest of the world via air? Do you think the economic benefits and business opportunities will be substantial? Would you want to visit or invest in this former place of exile?

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