Largest airplane ever landed In Saint Helena
On July 30th, a Titan Airways Boeing 757 successfully landed in Saint Helena. The aircraft is the largest passenger jet to visit the island and was an exciting day for Saint Helena Airport.
Titan Airways flew the Boeing 757 as part of a repatriation mission. The flight is bringing citizens back to the UK from Saint Helena. On the way back, the aircraft made a stop in Accra, Ghana, before heading back to London Stansted (STN). The aircraft’s arrival was a big deal for the airport. This was the largest commercial jet to land in Saint Helena. The plane came in and landed on runway 20 from the north.
The afternoon arrival saw great weather and made for some excellent shots of the aircraft. Before coming in, the aircraft conducted a planned go-around: The flight required a lot of planning ahead of time. Before arrival, the airport worked with Titan Airways to conduct a risk assessment, flight planning, security planning, and more.
The arrival was successful. Pilots were able to get the aircraft and its passengers on the ground safely. After arrival, the plane spent a night on the ground before heading out to London via Accra the next day.
Before departing, the crew performed some training flights, including this takeoff. The goal of these tests, per the airport, was to let the aircraft’s crew become familiar with the airport’s flying conditions before putting passengers onboard. The plane finally departed around 10:00 AM local time on July 31st.
Back in April, Titan Airways flew an all-business Airbus A318 to Saint Helena. That plane was operating a relief mission. The A318 is a much smaller aircraft than the Boeing 757-200 that flew this mission. Much like this flight, the Airbus A318 relief mission was also successful.
While the arrival of a Boeing 757 at some airports would barely raise an eyebrow, an arrival in Saint Helena Airport is far from usual. The airport has a shorter runway than most other major commercial airports. This does not allow for aircraft like the Boeing 777 or Airbus A350 to arrive at the airport with a full load of passengers and cargo.
Commercially, Saint Helena sees Embraer E190 service off to South Africa on Airlink. However, the arrival of aircraft like the Boeing 757 raises some interesting possibilities for commercial flights. This flight shows that it is possible for larger aircraft to land, but with enough planning.
However, the one thing that airlines have to keep in mind is the remote location of the airport. Saint Helena Airport does not have a large number of suitable diversion points. This will likely limit the airport’s ability to attract long-haul options. One option could be for tour companies to work with airlines to create seasonal charters to bring passengers to the island.