5-speed listening (Airports - Level 6)

World's 'most useless' airport opens



Medium (British English)

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The first scheduled commercial airplane has landed on the remote British island of St Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic. The SA AirLink service from South Africa touched down at Saint Helena Airport on Saturday with 68 passengers on board. One passenger, Libby Weir-Breen, a British travel operator, had flown from Scotland especially to be on the flight. She said: "I've never felt so emotional in all my life. I never thought I'd see this day." The inaugural flight marks a new era of accessibility for the island, which is 1,900 km west of the African nation of Angola. Previously, the only way of getting to Saint Helena was by a ship that sailed once every three weeks from Cape Town, South Africa.

Despite the positive social and economic effects the airport will have for the island and its tourism, the British media have dubbed it as "the most useless airport in the world". The airport was built with $380m of British taxpayers' money. That's $80,000 for each of the island's inhabitants. It was beset with delays and was due to open in 2016, but dangerous wind conditions delayed the launch. The Governor of Saint Helena, Lisa Phillips, dismissed the criticism. She said: "I've seen the headlines about the world's most useless airport, but for St Helena, this has already been the most useful airport. It's priceless." She added: "I for one am getting really excited about the new chapter in St Helena's history."

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