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St Helena’s new paymaster knows a bit about airports

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Justine Greening. Picture: FCO

The new Secretary of State for International Development – the cabinet minister ultimately responsible for aid to St Helena – comes to the job with useful background knowledge on airports.

Which is handy, because Justine Greening will carry on Andrew Mitchell’s work in keeping a close eye on the building of St Helena’s own airport.

Mr Mitchell, who leaves the job after two years to become Chief Whip in the UK Parliament, had personal monthly briefings on progress on the airport. He demonstrated a keen knowledge of the details when interviewed at a meeting with Saints in Swindon in May 2012.

What radio listeners couldn’t see, as he confidently reeled off the names of the various types of aircraft that might be able to land on Prosperous Bay Plain, was that he was reading from a detailed briefing file. An impressive feat nonetheless.

Andrew Mitchell with St Helena’s Kedell Worboys

Miss Greening may be even more clued up on aviation matters. She comes to the Department for International Development from a higher-ranking job as Transport Secretary – which involved grasping the complexities of providing enough runways for London.

Her move is being seen as a result of her opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.

Many St Helenians will doubtless be hoping this does not mean she’s opposed to all airports, on principle.

Mixed reaction to Andrew Mitchell’s

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