Avro RJ100 tested on St Helena

Avro RJ100 T7-IXZ

Avro RJ100 T7-IXZ landing at St. Helena airport’s runway 2; note the tailwind component! (Atlantic Star Airlines)

Lessor Tronos operated former Swiss Avro RJ100 T7-IXS (msn E3280 ex HB-IXS) to St. Helena airport in the south Atlantic on 21 October. The flight was intended to test the RJ100’s suitability for operations at the new St. Helena airport, which was built with funding from the government of the United Kingdom. Comair was to have operated a Boeing 737-800 from Johannesburg, but this was cancelled after severe windshear was experienced on approach to the airport’s runway 20. Plans from start-up Atlantic Star Airlines to operate a similar aircraft (leased from TUIfly) from the United Kingdom beginning in October were also cancelled. Atlantic Star took the opportunity of the planned ferry flight of T7-IXS to Chile, where she will be delivered to Aerovías DAP, to arrange for a stop at St. Helena. Still wearing basic Swiss colors but with the logo and titles blanked out, T7-IXS departed Zürich on 20 October, piloted by Captain Hjalgrim Magnussen and First Officer Hans Christian Petersen, both 146/RJ veterans from Atlantic Airways. Also on board were Atlantic Star Director Richard Brown and Tronos owner Adrian Noskwith. After refuelling in Marrakech, she continued to Banjul, where she overnighted. She continued on the following day to Ascension Island, and flew from there to St. Helena. A first landing was made on runway 2, which generally has a strong tailwind. After a trouble-free landing, she made a brief stop to allow its passengers to disembark, then took off again, circled the airport, and landed again, this time on runway 20, again without problems. On the following day, she returned to Ascension Island and then continued on her delivery flight to Chile. Atlantic Star is considering acquiring an RJ100 to operate a roundtrip service to Ascension Island, where passengers could connect to other destinations. This would be possible with a standard RJ100, albeit limited to about 50 passengers. Fitting additional tanks would potentially allow some destinations on mainland Africa to be reached.

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