St Helena Airport

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The St Helena Airport Limited (SHAL) Board consists of Executive and Non-Executive Directors.  Between them, members of the Board have years of aviation and corporate skills, and experience, that supports SHAL in its operations and functions. The Board’s remit includes:

  • Strategy and management – maintaining the viability of the business and the Airport as an Island strategic asset
  • Advising on specific regulatory matters as required
  • Leading corporate governance
  • Ensuring the finances of SHAL are regulated, controlled and supervised in line with best financial practise
  • Guiding corporate and operational risk management
  • Governance of financial and procurement procedures
  • Managing Company structure and external Board communications.

** Bruce Wilks, Chairperson **

Bruce Wilks was appointed the Chairperson of the SHAL Board in December 2019.  Bruce lives in the Falkland Islands where he is the Director of Civil Aviation, responsible to the Governor for the regulatory oversight of aviation safety. The Falklands has been his home for more than 23 years so he has a good appreciation of the importance of reliable aviation, shipping and telecommunications links and the challenges relying on those links can mean to a remote community. Prior to his current role Bruce has also been an airport manager, aerodrome inspector for Air Safety Support International, and a passenger and cargo services supervisor for two airlines.


** Gwyneth Howell, Executive Director **

Gwyneth began her illustrious career with the South African Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in 1984, before ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services) took over from the Department of Civil Aviation in 1993. Gwyneth held a number of positions at ATNS, progressing through the ranks of Air Traffic Control. In 1999 Gwyneth became the first female Manager in the Air Traffic Service, a considerable professional and personal achievement in a very male-dominated industry. She then held Regional, Operational and HR managerial roles from 2003 to 2009, before moving into an Investigation Standards Specialist and later that year into a senior management position. Gwyneth was also a representative on the Aeromedical Committee and CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Service Organisation) Safety representative for Africa.

In 2015 Gwyneth joined the St Helena Airport Project as the Aviation Safety Specialist; Gwyneth’s role was to set up the Air Traffic Services for the Airport, ensuring compliance with all international regulations and guidelines. Gwyneth then joined Basil Read in April 2016 as the Accountable Manager & Head of Operations, playing a pivotal role in the Airport’s successful attainment of its certification that same year.

In October 2018, Gwyneth joined St Helena Airport Limited (SHAL) as the Chief Executive Officer and Accountable Manager, and Executive Director of the SHAL Board, responsible for developing high-quality business strategies and plans to align with short and long-term strategic objectives, leading and motivating staff to advance employee engagement and to develop a high performing managerial team, as well as overseeing airport operations to ensure they support the overall strategy and mission of SHAL.

“I am proud to be part of trailblazing Airport team putting St Helena on the map and becoming an integral part of the aviation sector within the South Atlantic. Ours is an industry with no limits; it soars above high altitudes and connects people around the world”.


** Tavonga Chikwenhere, Executive Director **

Mr Tavonga Chikwenhere (AFA MIPA) was appointed to the St Helena Airport Limited (SHAL) board in May 2019 as the Executive Director Finance and Commerce. He joined the company in February 2019 as the Business Manager with overall strategic and operational responsibility of all corporate services of the organisation. He oversees the key functions of Finance, HR, Procurement and Contracts Management.

Prior to joining SHAL, he held various managerial positions in both the private and public sector. He also worked as Public Finance Management Consultant in numerous African countries.

A Zimbabwean citizen, he holds a degree in Accounting and Finance from De Montfort University, Leicester, UK and is currently enrolled with the University of Aberdeen for his MBA (expected July 2021). He also holds various professional and management certificates in finance, audit and systems implementation. Tavonga is a member of the Institute of Financial Accountants.


** Brian Deadman, Non-Executive Director **

Mr Deadman serves as the St Helena Government Representative on the Company’s Board of Directors. As a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ exposure to the public, non-profit and private sectors, he is an experienced Chief Financial Officer, specialising in business improvement.


** Peter Patrickson, Non-Executive Director **

Based in the UK, Peter joined the SHAL Board as Non-Executive Director (Operations, Safety & Environment) in February 2020.  He has more than 40 years’ experience within the aviation industry covering Air Traffic Control; Aerodrome Operations and Airfield Safety.  He held posts at Heathrow Airport before moving to Birmingham Airport (UK) where he was responsible for all aspects of airfield and airside operations, emergency planning, and airfield development as well as managing both the Operations and Rescue and Fire Fighting Services teams.  He has also held responsibility for terminal management, and baggage and cargo handling.

More recently a consultancy role, mainly in the Middle East, encompassed the provision of advice, solutions, documentation, systems, and support, on aviation matters including the upgrade and certification of three aerodromes.

Most recently, Peter was Policy Specialist for aerodromes and ATC at Air Safety Support International Ltd with experience of the development and certification of St Helena Airport.


** Carolyn Thomas, Non-Executive Director **

Carolyn joined the St Helena Airport Limited Board in August 2020 as a Non-Executive Director (Risk and Governance).  Carolyn works on St Helena within her family-owned retail company.  Her training, qualifications and work experience are primarily in finance and business development having previously worked 17 years within the St Helena Development Agency and 12 years chairing the Board of Directors of Bank of St Helena. Carolyn is a strong advocate of collaborative planning which, when coupled with capable leadership, helps to minimise risk and maximise business continuity and success.

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