Aviation fans had a bit of excitement yesterday as the remote and notoriously tricky airport at St. Helena (HLE), a British overseas territory in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, welcomed a 757 for the first time. The 757-200 belonging to Titan Airways was the largest aircraft ever to land at the airfield, which has cliffs at both ends and is well-known for challenging winds – not to mention a complete lack of diversion airports for hundreds of miles in every direction.
Flight ZT6892 came into St. Helena from Ascension Island (ASI), another remote outpost and sister island, known for its military airfield RAF Ascension Island, also known as Wideawake Airfield and jumping off point for other unique flights to remote territories like the famous Falkland Islands Airbridge. The aircraft, G-ZAPX is on a repatriation mission, taking people from the island back to the UK. It’s now returning to London via Accra as ZT6893.
St. Helena doesn’t receive many flights, and has seen even less in recent months due to COVID-19 lockdowns. It previously saw regular service from South Africa. So it’s perhaps not a surprise that the St. Helena Facebook page has been buzzing with news of yesterday’s arrival (they’ve posted plenty of photos and video).
Titan Airways previously flew an A318 into the airport carrying medical staff and supplies. Here’s a video of that landing from the flight deck. It gives a great sense of just how remote and unusual this airfield is.