>> A front seat view for history buffs, travel enthusiasts, or just daredevils, taking the first passenger plane to St. Helena.>> My Lord!>> This, the moment, the inaugural flight from Johannesburg approached the remote volcanic outcrop in the middle of the South Atlantic. The risk of wind shear has limited the size of planes that can fly into an airport, dubbed the world's most useless.
It's also pushed this journey back a year, intitial test flights revealed large planes were buffered by dangerous cross winds. Reuter's African Bureau Chief turned aviation guinea pig properly was on the first flight.>>
>> Literally only five minutes ago the first ever commercial flight land on this island at a brand new airport.
Touch down here, in slightly turbulent conditions it has to be said, a bit of a bumpy landing. You can see in the gallery behind me at the airport building, we've got large large crowds. It's one of the most exciting events in the history of St. Helena, one might say since Emperor Napoleon died here in the middle of the 1800s.
If we pan around, you can get a picture of the plane that's just brought us in from Johannesburg. And then beyond that, the runway which stretches out over the rocks into the Atlantic.>> The British colony of St Helena sits on 1,200 miles west of the African nation of Angola.
The craggy outpost once housed an exiled Napoleon Bonaparte, now locals hope a new airport will boost tourism. But for the 4,500 people living here, it's unlikely to replace a dependency on British aid, every year some 53 million pounds are sent here. And the final bill for the new airport has been hard to stomach for Britain's austerity government.
Utilizing one of the island's few flat spaces, the runway sits on top of a valley filled in with 8 million cubic meters of rock. Setbacks caused costs to balloon to 285 million pounds, a price tag of some 60,000 pounds per resident, and prompted UK headlines, calling it useless.
But for islanders now offered an alternative to a five day boat journey, it could prove priceless.