The St Helena Government (SHG) and SA Airlink (‘Airlink’) have announce that they have signed an agreement for Airlink to provide scheduled commercial air services to St Helena Island. Airlink will also operate a monthly charter service between St Helena (IATA: HLE) and Ascension Island (ASI). This follows a period of contractual negotiations with Airlink. Neither airport currently has any scheduled air services.
Over the coming weeks, Airlink says it will be finalising regulatory approvals with the South African Civil Aviation Authority. This will include a proving flight to the Island.
Following the necessary approvals and proving flight, SHG will be able to announce the commencement date for a service between St Helena Airport and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa. It is expected that the monthly service between St Helena and Ascension Island will start soon after and operate on the second Saturday of each month.
There will be stopover at Windhoek International Airport (WDH) in Namibia on both legs of the Johannesburg – St Helena services, thereby providing passengers with an to connect with flights to and from Cape Town.
The initial weekly service on a Saturday will be operated using an Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft in a two-class configuration (Business Class and Economy) with the flight time from Johannesburg to St Helena being approximately 6hrs 15 mins including a half hour stop in Windhoek.
The agreement with Airlink is for an initial term of three years from the date of the first flight. Airlink’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, commented:
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone and we are extremely excited to be preparing for the proving flight and to the inaugural flight shortly after. Airlink is confident that our Embraer E190 ETOPS certified aircraft is most suited to the demanding environmental conditions prevalent at St Helena and that we will establish a safe and reliable air bridge between St Helena and South Africa – thereby creating air linkages between St Helena and the rest of the world by way of the interconnectivity offered at Johannesburg.
“We are pleased to be able to connect both Cape Town and Johannesburg to St Helena by way of designed flight coordination at Windhoek – we acknowledge that Cape Town is an important destination for Saints and we recognise that Cape Town enjoys significant tourism visitations growing at 30% annually which could become an important source market for St Helena’s tourism aspirations.”