Supply boat to remote St Helena island sails on
The mail boat that is the only link to St Helena, one of the world's most remote islands, has had its retirement delayed after a new airport failed to open due to dangerous winds.
The airport, constructed between soaring mountains and the South Atlantic Ocean, was designed to boost tourism and revive the community on the British territory where Napoleon was exiled and died in 1821.
But the 250-million-pound ($330 million) facility has been closed indefinitely for more data to be gathered after the first test flights in April measured severe air turbulence.
The RMS St Helena mail boat, which was due to be decommissioned this year after the airport’s scheduled opening, takes about five days to reach the island from Cape Town.
The St Helena government said Friday that the boat would be kept in service until at least July 2017.
“Intensive work continues to mitigate wind conditions experienced at St Helena Airport,” it added in a statement. “Getting this right will take some time.”
Located nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from the African coast, St Helena has about 4,200 residents, one bank, and no cash machines.
A mountain ridge had to be lowered and a small valley filled in during the construction of the airport.