This is a pity

UK faces being sued over useless £285m aid-funded runway in the SOUTH ATLANTIC!
The landing strip on St Helena has become a symbol of Britain’s aid waste
Prince Andrew due to open site in May but pilots said it was too dangerous
Experts warned it might never open because of severe problems with wind

The basic story is that they built it on the edge of a cliff and the wind means that it just may never be usable.

The pity is not the cash wasted – for me anyway. It’s that it’s a place I’ve always thought about wandering off to. Sit up in the hills and write and potter. But I wasn’t going to do that when there’s only the one ship a month passing by…..

11 thoughts on “This is a pity”

  1. Visitors tend to be Buonapartist conspiracy freaks.
    So I recommend depopulating the island St Kilda fashion and allowing a natural experiment to occur.
    We really don’t need coaling stations in the S Atlantic any more.

  2. Around 20-25 years ago, in South Africa, there was a company looking for investors who were building an airship to replenish St Helena. Quite a few well known names signed up before it was shown to be a scam.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    We can’t depopulate St Helena. We might need it as a place to exile the occasional delusional French Euroweenie. Maybe a few fat German socialists.

    You know they will be begging us to do so in the end.

    (Not to mention that the airfield would be good in case we want to move what is left of the submarines there)

  4. The runway is perfectly useable right now, provided you can land from the south, e.g. downwind: several aeromedical flights have been in already. If the wind shear conditions can be predicted as per many other airfields, then landing up wind should be ok too: they have a lidar operating now.

    It should also be noted the project built a port and a link road

  5. I wouldn’t worry about a ship every five months, Tim. You’ll find as you get older time passes faster and faster, and before you know it you’ll be complaining about all these bloody ships going past every five minutes.

  6. “Presumably this has a possible military use?”

    It’s less than a thousand miles from Ascension?

    I could understand Tristan de Cunha better in that context (half way between Ascension and the Falklands?), but it might be difficult to construct anything useful on that particular volcano?

  7. @Tim Worstall
    “It’s that it’s a place I’ve always thought about wandering off to. Sit up in the hills and write and potter.”

    Follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill & Margaret Thatcher.

    Closer to home for you too: Madeira

    North of Island and higher areas are still rather backward undeveloped.

  8. Forgot the close italitics after quote. Sorry.

    Follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill & Margaret Thatcher.

    Closer to home for you too: Madeira

    North of Island and higher areas are still rather backward undeveloped.

  9. The runway is perfectly usable with the right aircraft type which doesn’t need to use the full length – the Boeing 757 or Airbus A-319 for example. They can fly the approach high enough to handle the wind shear and touch down further down the runway.

    The problem being the company given the contract to operate the route doesn’t operate any of them, Only the 737.

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