Monday, July 15, 2013

► SÃO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE: Newly installed runway lighting at São Tomé paves the way for night-time flights in August.

STP Airways logoSão Toméan carrier, STP Airways (8F), and the various other carriers that serve the island nation, could begin to offer better international and regional connecting flights beginning this August after the recent successful installation and testing of runway lighting at the carrier's home base of São Tomé International Airport.

The announcement comes after STP, in conjunction with the National Institute of Civil Aviation of  São Tomé and Príncipe (Instituto Nacional de Aviação Civil de São Tomé e Príncipe - INAC-STP), successfully conducted night-time test flights along runway 11/29 using a Dornier 228 operated by Africa's Connection.

According to Lusophone newswire, macauhub, the airline indicated that administrative procedures associated with finalizing the implementation of the runway lighting will be finished by the end of the month and that São Tomé´s international airport should be ready to begin receiving night flights this August.

With the possibility of night flights, STP Airways says that "is likely to change its flight schedules thus providing for better connections to Europe and to other destinations on the African continent."

Despite being on the Euroepan No-Fly list, STP operates flights to Lisbon, Portugal using leased Portuguese-registered EuroAtlantic Airways (YU) aircraft.

The runway lighting upgrade forms part of a raft of aviation-related projects the São Toméan government has highlighted for attention under its 2013 Budget and include:
  • The rehabilitation, upgrading and extending of the 2'200m-long runway 11/29 and its associated signalling and safety systems so as to allow for the operation of large aircraft (São Tomé airport to be extended to 3'000m while Príncipe airport is to be extended to 1'850m);
  • Implementation of Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems
  • Rehabilitation and expansion of the passenger terminal which at present, is unable to cope with the influx of departing and arriving passengers;
  • Rehabilitation of the control tower and construction of a technical block at Príncipe airport; 
  • Creating conditions for compliance with ICAO and WMO standards in regards to weather observation at aerodromes.
Until now, only a VIP waiting room has been added to the passenger terminal.