Falklands : MPA Falklands Celebrates 25 Years of Service
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 13.05.2010 (Article Archived on 27.05.2010)
In mid1983 a decision was taken by HMG to purchase land in the Falklands for £29.00 an acre from the Falkland Islands Company at Mount Pleasant and build an international airport on the property.
MPA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF SERVICE
By J. Brock (FINN)
Photo © Crown Copyright Photo Section MPC: Sir Rex Hunt, then Governor of the Falkland Islands welcomes Mr Michael Heseltine to Mount Pleasant Airport. Descending the steps are Mrs Anne Heseltine, Lord Strathcona, Lord Shackleton, Lord Buxton, Air Marshal Sir Peter Harding, Mr Ian Gow and Sir Humphrey Atkins.
In mid1983 a decision was taken by HMG to purchase land in the Falklands for £29.00 an acre from the Falkland Islands Company at Mount Pleasant and build an international airport on the property. A consortium involving John Liang Construction Ltd, Mowlem International Limited, and Amey Roadstone Construction Ltd (LMA) was formed and the first two vessels – Cunard’s ship, ENGLAND and the MERCHANT PROCIDENCE – loaded with workers and materials sailed towards the Falklands.
Everything but stone had been imported and by December 1983 the vessels began discharging cargo and the workers’ Wyseplan camp was under construction.
Fifteen months later on 01 may 1985, a Tristar on a proving flight, piloted by Wing Commander Keith Filbey of 216 Squadron RAF was the first aircraft to land on the newly finished runway. The next plane to land was on opening day itself – 12 May 1985 – an Islander Aircraft piloted by Eddy Anderson, carrying H. E. The Governor Sir Rex Hunt, Lady Mavis Hunt and other Falklands officials including Gerald Cheek and his wife, Marie. Prince Andrew arrived via SeaKing Helicopter from Stanley shortly afterwards and watched the Tristar land along with H. E. and others from Stanley.
After welcoming his guests and touring the facility HRH Prince Andrew, who at the time was an RN Helicopter Pilot stationed aboard HMS BRAZEN, gave a rousing speech in the Tristar Hanger and was present at a sumptuous lunch provided by Kelvin Catering. HRH left for his shop after the formalities were over.
HRH Prince Andrew had spent the previous day at Blue Beach Cemetery, Fox Bay Village (East), unveiling a plaque at the building site for the KEMH, Opening the new school hostel and at a reception and dinner at Government House.
RAF Stanley closed in 1987, with MPA almost complete, except for snagging of a few new buildings. Intermittent years brought new developments like a shopping centre and a passenger lounge. The builders’ camp was removed and replaced with modern facilities for all working at the facility.