Work ‘in hand’ on inter-islands link – but no answer yet

The RMS St Helena approaches Ascension Island - but not for much longer
The RMS St Helena approaches Ascension Island – but not for much longer

The British government has been asked how people and supplies will be transported between St Helena and other islands in the South Atlantic after the RMS St Helena is withdrawn from service in 2016.

But no clear answer has emerged in response to a written question in the House of Lords by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Jones of Cheltenham – one of the figures behind the revival of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on St Helena.

His question was:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the future reliability of inter-island links in the South Atlantic for the transport of imports and exports and the mobility of labour in the South Atlantic British Overseas Territories after the St Helena airport is operational and the RMS St Helena ceases to operate.”

Baroness Warsi (Conservative) has replied:

“We are working closely with the St Helena and Ascension authorities as plans are developed for the transportation of supplies and passengers domestically among the islands after the introduction of air access to St Helena.

“These plans are progressing although work remains to be done in the run up to the opening of the airport and the withdrawal of the Royal Mail Ship St Helena service.”

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  1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government … why a short flight of less than 2 hours between St. Helena and Ascension would cost more than a much longer flight (4 – 4,5 hours) between St. Helena and Cape Town …
    Fares for return tickets published in the air access survey conducted by ESH / The Journey suggest that:
    St. Helena – Cape Town (approx. 3,130 km) 550/750/900 Pound
    St. Helena – Ascension (approx. 1,300 km) 700/950/1600 Pound

  2. Dear Pietro de Marchi, your conundrum ref inter island fares appears to be the tip of the iceberg for a way of recouping revenue as quickly as is possible to compensate the gigantic cost of the new airport. There will be other financial anomalies gradually added. In particular the fares to Cape Town. Eventually, the airport , when operational, will be not be viable, handouts from the UK Government will be demanded, or they will be faced with yet another White Elephant. Like all these
    ventures, they are all so much ad hoc. Or they appear to be. Perhaps there is a hidden agenda.
    Although not a ‘Saint’ I do have connections with the island. As far as the introduction of an air link is concerned I must admit to being a cynic, because a few years ago the Daily Mail published an article of an island which soon after the introduction of an airport,was transformed from tranquil into a concrete jungle, complete with casinos etc. I do not believe that this, potential, effect was put as a persuasive point to the Saints for accepting the benefit of an airport. Of course that is all water under the bridge now. I am perfectly aware that St Helena is basically no concern of mine as I do not reside there, however, I hate to think of its destruction from its present form. This has already started by the contractors blowing, I believe, Francis Plain to bits with 10,000 tons of explosives. I sincerely trust that this does not reactivate the volcano that created the island. I should be quite nervous if I lived there. In the UK Fracking was halted as earth tremors were being recorded. I must add that I am not being a pessimist, just a casual observer.
    Yours most sincerely, T. Collier
    P.S. Sorry to deviate, just airing my views for the first time

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