AIRPORT - Calibration Flight Arrives, 15 September 2015
AIRPORT – Calibration Flight Arrives, 15 September 2015

History was made on St Helena at 13.50hrs GMT today, Tuesday 15 September 2015, as a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft (three photos attached) arrived from Angola and touched down at St Helena’s new Airport, prior to conducting a series of calibration flights.

Stepping out of the aircraft, Captain Grant Brighton said:

“It feels fantastic and we’re privileged to have flown the first plane to land on St Helena and to be part of your wonderful project.

 “The trip over was good. It was interesting landing here, a bit windy on the threshold but a terrific runway, surface, Airport and facility.”

Watching the landing – together with numerous residents at various vantage points – Councillor Lawson Henry commented:

“First of all this is quite emotional – we’ve waited so long for this moment and it has finally happened. This is history in the making and we’re a part of it.”

 Basil Read Island Director Deon de Jager added:

“It’s brilliant – all the hard work has paid off. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved – we’ve actually done it.”

Airport Project Director Janet Lawrence said of the day:

“I honestly can’t describe today. Years of planning and thousands of man hours have gone into this moment and to actually see it happen is an immense feeling.

 “There are so many people we should be thanking, including people who can’t be here with us today. It’s not over yet – there’s still a great deal more to be done – but this event clearly shows that we’re going in the right direction.”

Greeting the crew on the Airport Apron, Governor Mark Capes remarked:

“Today we witnessed an event that will feature prominently in the history of this Island. For the Airport project another important piece of the jigsaw has slotted firmly into place. There are a few more vital pieces to be added before the picture is complete, but we are nearly there and I warmly congratulate everyone who has played a part in this extraordinary project.

“When we launched this work almost four years ago, such were the many obstacles to overcome that there were those who doubted that it would succeed and yet, behold, a plane has landed at St Helena Airport.”

Notes to Editors

The aircraft crew comprised Captain Grant Brighton, Co-pilot and First Officer Dillan Van Niekerk, Chief Aircraft Engineer Jeffrey McKenzie – all of TAB Charters, SA – together with FCSL Chief Pilot, Stuart Rawlinson, and Chief Flight Inspector Nick Whitehouse, also of FCSL.

The calibration tests will now commence. Several flights each day – weather permitting – will be undertaken.


15 September 2015


  1. Congratulations to my home st helena island feeling very exciting for everyone. Hope to do it someday. I have been away for almost 30 years.
    I think it’s time for a flight!!! Hugs

  2. I get chills, its a awesome achievement! I am a proud Basil Read employee!!!Well done!! We really and truly reached new hights!!!

  3. Well done guys. Awesome achievement.
    Now one day i can hopefully fly over and trace my ancestoral past from St Helena.

  4. Fantastic !! Please guard the beauty of your island as this will bring a new dimension which can be as bad as it is good. Tourists are good for the economy but tend to be “heavy” on nature.

  5. Congratulation to all involved in making this happen. It was a brilliant feeling to be able to witness this historic event with the hope that it will improve the future prospects for St Helena, our home and its people.
    I think this is the perfect time to also express our thanks to the British Government for their huge investment, for without, this would not have been possible.

  6. Brilliant news hopefully some time in the future i’ll be able to see the isand where my farther was born

  7. Well done guys , you have done us all very proud. What a feeling of achievement it must of been to be the first to land on St Helena…..congrats to all involved.

  8. I might now be able to visit mums resting place , without the logistics of so many weeks travelling by boat. Great day Xx

  9. Congratulations and look forward to be a contributor to the first commercial flight to HLE

  10. Tuesday 15 September 2015 will be a memorable date for Basil Read but especially for the Saints. St Helena will now be flight away for the world. It all boils down to good planning and teamwork. The key to this projects success was excellent communication, coordination and cooperation. I am proud to have been part of the success of this St Helena Airport Project from Basil Read in Boksburg, South Africa.

  11. Well done to all who made this project such a huge success. I’m so proud of all the effort and commitment. It is indeed time to share this beauty with the rest of the world 😉

  12. So happy to see this worked out very successful, and now I can make plans for a visit I have been away from home for almost 30 years.
    Maybe my my grown children will come for a visit too!!!
    Great job????

  13. For 2 months my husband, Kenneth Wasmuth, trained the fire fighters of St. Helena island here in South Africa. It was such a great honour for us to became as family to these guys: Trevor, Dennis, Onray, Deon, Mario, Marc, Robert, Ryan and Philip. We miss you guys a lot and all the fun we had together

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