R4.8 billion spent on an airport where planes can't land

Reports on Wednesday explained how British taxpayers coughed up £285.5 million (R4.8 billion) to build an international airport at St Helena, one of the most remote islands in the world – only for it to be declared unusable.

After the airport was complete it was discovered that large commercial aircraft cannot land there safely due to wind shear as well as sudden and unpredictable changes in wind direction.

The report says it was "staggering" that ministers commissioned the airport before examining if commercial jets could land safely.

Linden Birns, aviation specialist explained what wind shear is and how dangerous it can be when a bigger aircraft has to land.

Birns spoke of how people responsible for building the airport did not take into consideration books written about the wind conditions on the island but only relied on a consultant.

What's interesting is that as early as the 1800 Charles Darwin had been to St Helena and had written in a book about the wind condition at this part of the island.

Linden Birns, Aviation specialist

It seems the people at the department did not take heed of what Darwin had written other than one consultant.

Linden Birns, Aviation specialist

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