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Wideawake Runway Reconstruction Project Update

9 January 2020

Government, Press Release

The following is a joint statement issued by the United States Air Force (USAF), the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Ascension Island Government (AIG).

A combined United States Air Force (USAF) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) team reviewed three tender returns for the Ascension Island Wideawake Airfield runway reconstruction project at the tender board meeting on 3-4 December 2019. The board concluded that a preferred bidder has been identified and contract negotiations are estimated to require a month or so to complete. Following this period of due diligence, it is expected a contract award will be made in early 2020.

It is anticipated the reconstruction of the runway will be phased, with phases one and two resulting in a reduction of the length of runway available for landing and take-off.

The outline delivery plan proposes that work on phases one and two of the runway will start between nine and 12 months after contract award and last a further 15 months. Given the technical complexity of infrastructure works on Ascension the tender board has factored in possible unforeseen delays and therefore expects the project to be completed in 2022.

It is anticipated that after the reopening of the full runway the MOD operated South Atlantic Airbridge will resume.

It may be necessary for some limitations on air access to be put in place whilst the length of available runway is reduced. In particular, there may be a reduction in seat availability on the SA Airlink operated inter-island service. However, those living on island should be assured that it is anticipated regular access will continue for the island’s residents and visitors during this period and the majority of flights are expected to operate as normal.

The detailed plan will be subject to confirmation by the winning contractor 45 days after contract award at which stage we may be able to provide more information to the public. Further information will be shared as and when it becomes available.