The UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday took oral evidence on St Helena Airport from the Department for International Development’s Permanent Secretary, Mark Lowcock – who was positive about progress made on the Airport.

Mr Lowcock announced that the tender process for a scheduled air service would begin next month, and said that the RMS service would be further extended if necessary. He also stressed that the emphasis now was on fixing the problem with the data we have.

In answers to questions, Mark Lowcock said:

  • ‘We’re building our understanding of the weather conditions around the Island and I’m hoping that shortly we’ll be tendering for an air service which meets the needs of Saints themselves, tourists and potential UK citizens who want to visit


  • ‘We are having very good discussions with service providers …the tender process will start next month


  • ‘We will extend the RMS again if we need to … we have an offer for quite a lot of money for when we no longer need it… it is very unlikely that we will be developing proposals, when it does reach the end of it useful life, to replace the RMS


  • ‘It’s not my plan currently to spend a lot of money on exploring that option (alteration of K & Q Rock)


  • ‘The right thing to do first is to explore the kind of air service we can put in place.  So the challenge we’re addressing is how to put in place an air service so that the Airport isn’t just open as it is at the moment to charters and medical evacuations and so on, but to meet the access needs of the Island


  • ‘My plan, and what the Department is working on, is to put in place a safe air service … the first priority is to get a decent service up and running’



3 November 2016




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