The Opening of 'The World’s Most Useless Airport' in Remote Saint Helena

Last weekend, after five years of construction and controversy, the tiny and isolated British island of Saint Helena welcomed its first scheduled commercial flight. Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean, is one of the most remote islands in the world—a volcanic outcrop with an area of only 47 square miles. According to Reuters, the only way to access the island previously was by sea, “a five-night voyage from Cape Town.” The new airport, servicing the 4,500 island inhabitants with flights from South Africa, was built at a cost of $374 million. Construction was completed in 2016, but test flights ran into serious weather-related problems, pushing the opening back more than a year, leading to the nickname “world’s most useless airport.” Gathered here are a handful of images from the inaugural flight and from around Saint Helena.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Yves Herman / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Swan Song, Eiffel Climb, Porcelain Starlings

    Tornadoes in Missouri, paratroopers in France, abortion-rights protests in New York City, the Great Wall Marathon in China, a newborn walrus in Germany, and much more

  • Dita Alangkara / AP

    Photos: Deadly Post-election Riots in Indonesia

    Supporters of the presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto took to the streets of Jakarta, clashing violently with riot police, after his loss to incumbent President Joko Widodo was announced on Wednesday.

  • CC BY-SA ESA / Rosetta / NavCam

    The Small Bodies of the Solar System

    Images of asteroids, comets, trans-Neptunian objects, meteors, and more

  • Nhac Nguyen / AFP / Getty

    Buddha Day Celebrations in Photos

    Observations of Vesak, or Buddha Day, from several countries across Asia