St Helena airport project

The St Helena airport project continues to prove Basil Read’s ability to successfully execute a designbuild- operate-maintain project of such magnitude and nature, being on a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Although this flagship project is coming to an end, Basil Read still has R850 million of work from the client in its order book – R400 million to complete the new bulk fuel facility and R450 million to service the airport for the next nine years.

After over four years of construction, the highlight of 2016 was the landing of the first jet-propelled aircraft, a Bombardier Challenger 300, on the island on 10 April 2016, with five UK regulatory officials on board for the first aerodrome audit. The audit was highly successful and the aerodrome certificate was issued by Air Safety Support International on 10 May 2016.

Despite the delay in commercial flights, charter flights are able to land and Basil Read operates the airport daily as a fully functional international facility, making a real difference to the lives of residents. This has allowed a number of medical air evacuations that were previously not possible. Basil Read has a 10-year contract to operate the airport.

Contracts highlights

  • Over 5.4 million hours worked, with only 473 hours lost due to injury, none of which were serious. This is a significant achievement in our industry, particularly in light of challenging operating conditions on a remote island
  • The aerodrome was completed on 28 April 2016. This includes runway, taxiway, apron, terminal and combined buildings, air traffic control tower, navigational aids, aerodrome ground lighting and precinct
  • Work on the permanent wharf was completed in June 2016
  • The sea rescue facility was completed in October 2016
  • Refurbishment works and equipment supply for the Jamestown Hospital were completed in July 2016
  • The 14 km access road is largely complete, with handover due in early 2017
  • The airport fuel facility is due for handover by mid-2017
  • Bulk fuel installation – facilities to store six million litres of fuel, including diesel, petrol and JetA1. Progress has been hampered by numerous design changes requested by the employer with expected completion and commissioning in early 2018.


We expect all additional works to be completed by early 2018, marking the end of the very successful six-and-a-half-year construction part of the project. The contract to operate the airport will run until 2026. Additional construction opportunities are under discussion.