This coming Sunday, 3 November 2013, will mark exactly two years since the signing of the airport contract between St Helena Government and Basil Read.
Two years on and the progress is evident in the remarkable amount of work that has taken place both at the airport site and in Rupert’s Valley. The filling of Dry Gut will reach the 50% mark in mid-November and work continues on constructing the combined and terminal buildings at Prosperous Bay, as well as continuing work on the Access Road and Bulk Fuel Installation at Rupert’s. Public consultation on the amendment to the Rupert’s Wharf Plan is also currently progressing.
Basil Read Island Director, Deon De Jager, commented:
“I am pleased to report that progress on the construction of the airport is on track and that all critical milestones have been met within a couple of days of the planned dates. Without distracting from the technical aspects of the project I believe this is an opportune time to congratulate and thank each and every person who has contributed to the project to date. It is only with careful planning, hard work and commitment that we as a team are able to reflect with pride on the progress that has been made.
“This focus needs to remain as we enter the second half of the project. We all look forward with optimism to the day that St Helena will have air access!”
Governor Capes added:
“I congratulate Basil Read, and all those engaged with the airport project, on the tremendous progress made over the past two years. Of course, much remains to be done to position St Helena to obtain maximum benefit from air access. That must be the focus of our attention over the next two years and I look forward to working with Councillors and the people of St Helena to help secure the foundations for a bright and prosperous future for all who live here.”
While the physical work on the ground must be recognised, so too should the ongoing ‘behind the scenes’ work within Government that strives towards preparing the Island for air access in 2016.
Director of Corporate Policy and Planning, Susan O’Bey commented:
“In 2010 we embarked upon an ambitious reform programme more commonly referred to as the ‘MOU’ which was designed to help St Helena and Saints gear up for the airport opening. As a result of the MOU and with the support of our Councillors, we have implemented more development friendly policies for Land Disposal and Land Development, Immigration and Investment. We have reviewed our Benefits system, introduced a Basic Island Pension and will shortly be introducing a Minimum Income Standard.
“Air access for St Helena will mean an end to physical isolation and the beginning of the real possibility of growing an economy, principally based on tourism. The opening of the airport will mark the start of a new era for St Helena – one that promises opportunities for growth across all sectors of the community.”
The Island now looks forward to further economic benefits and increased career opportunities for Saints in the run up to 2016, when air access for the Island will be realised.
1 November 2013