I guess if you live on an island not too far off the coast of a friendly country, transport and connections aren’t too much to worry about. In, say, the Channel Islands, if something goes wrong with one form of transport, it won’t be too long before another boat, plane or helicopter is able to zip out and provide whatever connection is needed. Remote island nation in the Atlantic aren’t so lucky. Our ‘Airbridge’ RAF plane link is the main way in which we in the Falklands get to and from the UK. It stops at the bizarre island air base of Ascension Island, which this week it was announced has been closed due to problems with the runway.
While that severed our main link to the UK for the weekend, our Airbridge has been rerouted via Senegal which is a bit irritating but of no major consequence to us here (we hope). You do have to feel for the people of St Helena, whom the Falklands shares a great deal with as a fellow remote Atlantic British overseas territory. Following the farce over their £250,000,000 airport that isn’t fit for purpose, their main link to the outside world was by the aging boat RMS St Helena, but that has now broken down too as a result of being overdue her retirement. Combine that with the significant sailing time even once a boat has been organised and things may be getting difficult for them as well as those stuck on Ascension Island itself. We hear that the engineer who certified the airstrip unfit for purpose is among those trapped there – I wonder if he/she is regretting their decision to report their verdict BEFORE returning home.
Sometimes things happen that serve to remind us here in the Falklands of our remoteness as a small island nation, but perhaps we should be thinking about it the other way; we have a functioning airport and a regular flight to the UK (expensive as it is), so really things could be a lot worse.