Ascencion Island closed to Heavy Aircraft after South Atlantic Airbridge flights suspended

The Government of the Ascension Islands have confirmed that RAF Wideawake (ASI/FHAW), the island’s only international airport, will remain closed to heavy aircraft until 2019/2020 in order to carry out much needed repairs on the 3,000m asphalt runway.

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An AirTanker A330 at RAF Wideawake ©Avineesh Suppiah

Runway 13/31 is currently in a state of disrepair, with reported cracks and potholes among other damage that prevents regular services to the airport.

A statement released by the island’s government is as follows:

“We do not expect South Atlantic Airbridge flights (operating with the Voyager aircraft) to recommence before 2019/20”

It adds that emergency medical evacuation flights will not be affected.

A spokesperson for the UK Government has confirmed that the runway is to be replaced.

“The MOD is working with the USAF (United States Air Force) to monitor and repair issues with the runway surface, to mitigate transportation impacts, and to prepare for full runway replacement.”

The statement comes weeks after the Royal Air Force were forced to suspend their AirTanker operated flights to the airport, which they used as a halfway stop on the service from RAF Brize Norton (BZZ/FHAW) to RAF Mt Pleasant (MPN/EGYP). The A330 operated service has been flying via Dakar, Senegal since April 16.

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An AirTanker A330 at RAF Mt Pleasant ©Avineesh Suppiah

 

In the meantime, the Government of Ascension Island has announced that the island’s travel agency is unable to process any further flight bookings until the status of the runway is clarified.

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