It is located on the famous island of St. Helena, where Napoleon ended his days. For a long time, it could only be reached by boat. Then the idea of an airport was born. But it would become the most useless airport in the world.
It cost more than $300 million. From the beginning there were doubts about the safety of the area for aircraft. Therefore, it was decided to do numerous pre-tests. Strong winds were found to be constant. The mountains near the runway were an additional hazard.
An official report concluded that the weather conditions had not been foreseen. “The airport serves neither its people nor the taxpayers who pay the taxes,” the document sentenced. At first, small, maneuverable aircraft such as the Boeing 737 were allowed to arrive. In 2016, the first commercial airliner landed at the Santa Elena airport. But it had to abort the landing three times before being able to complete it.
After much back and forth, the new airport was granted a certificate of operations, without allowing regular operations. Winds were the main problem. They were a real risk for passengers and crew.
Then operations were limited to small aircraft such as the Embraer E190, or the Avro RJ100. Larger aircraft would have problems braking due to the winds. It was like a bucket of cold water for the inhabitants of St. Helena. They wanted to turn the island into a tourist destination that would boost their economy.
As of today, the airport is still open. It was closed like many terminals in the world because of the health crisis. It now receives flights operated by Titan Airways. It is now considered by many to be the most useless airport in the world. It was very expensive and improvised, which is always a bad combination. Anyway, locals hope that soon there will be more flight routes connecting directly to the UK. We’ll see if the weather (and the wind) allow it.