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Fly here

The fastest way to get here

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
Lord Kelvin, 1902

Flying is the fastest way to get to St Helena…

Fly here
{a}

Ways to get here

Other ‘getting here’ pages:

• Getting Here

• Yachting

• Cruise Ship Days

• Fly Yourself Here

• Visitor Information

Below: Scheduled Commercial Air Service • Check-in times • Other Airport Uses • ‘Category C’ • Other Flying Things • Airport Game • Poem • Read More

This page is about our operational airport. You can also read about its construction.

To find accommodation here please see our Where To Stay page.

Please note: the timetables shown below are the standard weekly flight schedule. Additional flights may be offered at certain times. Check all details with your travel agent.

Scheduled Commercial Air Service

Below: South Africa - St Helena • - Ascension Island • Tickets, Etc. • Flight Disruptions • Service changes • Airport Website

South Africa - St Helena

Poster

Route Map
Route Map
First scheduled commercial air service flight lands, 14th October 2017
First scheduled commercial air service flight lands, 14th October 2017

The scheduled commercial air service to St Helena commenced on 14th October 2017. Provided by SA Airlink (‘Airlink’) on contract to the Government of St Helena, it operates weekly on a Saturday from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Return flights are normally the same day, but not in the week of the monthly call to Ascension Island (see the note below). Two classes are available: Business and Economy, with a total of 98 seats available.

On the St Helena-bound leg here is a stopover at Walvis Bay (WVB) in Namibia, but this is for refuelling only{5} - it is not possible to join the flight at WVB. There is no stopover on the return flight.

Flight

Departure

Arrival

UTC

Local

UTC

Local

SA8131 JNB-WVB

07:00

09:00

09:00

10:00

SA8131 WVB-HLE

09:30

10:30

13:15

SA8132 HLE-JNB

14:30

19:15

21:15

St Helena - Ascension Island

A monthly service is provided between St Helena and Ascension Island. The arriving aircraft from South Africa continues to Ascension, returning the following day (Sunday). On this week, therefore, the return flight to South Africa is on the Sunday, rather than the Saturday. The Ascension service operates on the Second Saturday of every month.

Flight

Departure

Arrival

UTC

Local

UTC

Local

SA8131 JNB-WVB

07:00

09:00

09:00

10:00

SA8131 WVB-HLE

09:30

10:30

13:15

SA8131 HLE-ASI

14:30

16:30

Overnight stop

SA8132 ASI-HLE

11:15

13:15

SA8132 HLE-JNB

14:30

19:15

21:15

Tickets, Etc.

For prices, availability and to purchase a ticket go to flyairlink.com/destinations/flights-to-st-helena or any IATA Travel Agent.

Luggage

Checked Baggage

Carry On
Each piece should not exceed 8kg

Business Class

30Kg

2 Pieces plus 1 slimline laptop bag

Economy Class

20Kg

1 Piece plus 1 slimline laptop bag

SA Airlink is a member of the South African Airways Frequent Flyer Programme ‘Voyager’.

Flight Disruptions

Flight disruptions can occur at any time of year due to poor weather, but are most likely in July-October, our winter. Here are some sources of flight disruption information:

Our local radio stations also broadcast flight information.

Service changes

Since its inception a number of changes have been made to the service:

Additional flights were operated on Tuesdays during the summer period December 2018 - March 2019. In March 2019 it was announced that Tuesday flights would also operate during the summer period December 2019 - March 2020, but it was further announced that from 3rd December 2019 - 11th February 2020 the Tuesday service would operate from Cape Town (CPT) instead of Johannesburg.

Airport Website

St Helena Airport has a website at sthelenaairport.com.

Airport entrance, 2017 {1}
Airport entrance, 2017{1}{b}

Check-in times

Check-in hurry

Ever wondered why you are asked to turn up such a long time before the flight departs? After all, it’s not as if St Helena Airport is big and you have to travel miles to get to the departure gate. There aren’t thousands of passengers simultaneously trying to get through check-in and security. They don’t even have to allow time for you to get lost and be found before your flight departs. The whole process for all the passengers should take about half-an-hour; an hour tops. So why is ‘Turn-up time’ 11am for a 2:30pm flight?

The answer is both simple and, you might think, typically St Helena. You see, there is only one set of customs and immigration officials, and they can only be in one place at a time. They can’t be checking the new arrivals (making sure they’re not international terrorists and that they have all paid their entry fees and declared their second litre of Scotch) and at the same time checking the departing passengers for smuggled Wirebirds, etc. So the outbound passengers have to be inspected, documented and safely sequestered first, and then the team moves to the arrivals area to deal with the national treats posed by the incoming tourists.

Puzzle explained!

Airport terminal plan
Airport terminal plan{c}

Other Airport Uses

From the air
From the air{d}

Below: Fly here in your private plane? • Medical Evacuation • Charter Flights

Fly here in your private plane?

If you have your own private plane flying to St Helena has possible since the airport was completed in 2016. See our Fly Yourself Here page for more.

Medical Evacuation (‘Medevac’)

Since it was completed in 2016 the airport has been used for Medical Evacuations. As at December 2016 it had saved two lives; people who would not have survived the seven day sea voyage to Cape Town.

Charter Flights

Charter Flights have been flying here since the airport was completed in 2016. The first tourists to travel by charter flight arrived on 13th July 2016, a family of three brought by Antwerp aviation company ‘The Aviation Factory’, using a Bombardier Challenger 300. Basil Read have used many charter flights to rotate its airport staff.

In May 2017 a charter flight was organised by the Government of St Helena to bring home Saints stranded in Cape Town by a breakdown of the RMS St Helena. Flight SA8878, a British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85, flew from Cape Town via a refuelling stop in Walvis Bay, Namibia, arriving at about 2pm on Wednesday 3rd May. Governor Phillips was on the flight. It then returned to Cape Town to carry people on St Helena who needed to leave.

Pre-check-in
Pre-check-in{e}

Check-in
Check-in{e}

Island from the air
Island from the air{e}

Landing
Landing{f}

Airport busy!
Airport busy!{g}

 

On 2nd October 2018 the Government of St Helena announced that it had terminated its contract with Basil Read for operation of the Airport and other construction works. Three days later on the 5th it announced that its new company, St Helena Airport Limited, has been certified to operate the Airport. The air service has not been affected by the changeover.

Airport at sunset
{h}

‘Category C’

C

Our airport has been designated ‘Category C’. This is basically an assessment of the risk involved in using the airfield, with ‘A’ being the least risky.

A Category ‘A’ airfield satisfies all of the following requirements:

A Category ‘B’ airfield is an airfield which does not satisfy all of the Category ‘A’ airfield requirements, or which requires extra considerations such as:

A Category ‘C’ airfield requires additional considerations to a Category ‘B’ airfield and is considered to pose certain problems for the approach and/or landing and/or take-off.

For reference, three of the Category ‘C’ airfields in Europe are London City [EGLC], Gibraltar [LXGB] and Funchal, Madeira [LPMA].

The Airport
The Airport{h}

Other Flying Things

Air Traffic Control Zones

Naturally, the new airport requires restrictions on what else can be flying over St Helena. The Aviation Ordinance was enacted early in 2015 and designates an Aerodrome Traffic Zone ‘ATZ’ (broadly, the approach and departure area) and a Control Zone ‘CTR’ (the immediate vicinity of the airport. The diagram (right) illustrates these.

The rules depend on what it is you intend to fly. In addition to normal aircraft (which, presumably, you will to fly into or out of the airport, so formal Air Traffic Control procedures must be observed), the restrictions also cover:

Whether wind-blown litter is covered is not clear.

The rules also prohibit shining bright lights into the sky, which have the ability to dazzle and disorientate pilots at a time when they are most busy.

You can download a summary of the regulations.

Drone Zones Map

Drone Zones Map
Drone Zones Map{c}

St Helena Airport Game

St Helena Airport Game from the Google™ Play store

In August 2016 a computer game became available on the Google™ Play store, which allowed you to land a (small) plane on St Helena Airport. We were told that the game featured a reasonably realistic portrayal of St Helena…and even incorporated Windshear!

A second airport game was launched in 2018. The new ‘X-Plane’ extension pack allowed users to fly to St Helena Airport with a variety of planes, including two (the Boeing 737-800 and Avro RJ-85) which were only available in the St Helena pack, which also featured realistic St Helena scenery including Jamestown at night. Players could tackle Windshear, which the game’s website said only excellent pilots could manage. More at X-Plane.org.

Airport, 2017

Poem

From the ground
one sees only the butt ends of the clouds
those bits of the blanket
tucked under.

Flying
one sees across the counterpane
rumpled, morning white
as if the earth had spent another restless night.{i}

Airport, from the air
{j}

Read More

Below: Article: First commercial flight touches down at St Helena • Estimated international arrivals

Article: First commercial flight touches down at St Helena

www.itv.com/news, 14th October 2017{3}

St Helena Airport was built with 285 million of funding from the Department for International Development
St Helena Airport was built with £285 million of funding from the Department for International Development

The long-awaited first scheduled airline service to the British overseas territory of St Helena has landed on the remote South Atlantic island.

True to the much-maligned airport’s chequered history, it was late.

The UK taxpayer-funded development saw 78 commercial airline passengers land just before 2pm on Saturday, approximately 45 minutes behind schedule, following their departure from South Africa.

St Helena Airport, built with £285 million of funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), was due to open last year but the launch of commercial flights was delayed because of dangerous wind conditions.

Further trials were carried out in August and the airport was given the go-ahead to begin operations by South African aviation authorities.

Airlink’s Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft was due to land at 1:15pm local time (2:15pm BST) on Saturday but ended up touching down at 1:58pm (2:58pm BST).

Our Comment: We’d just like to point out that, yes - the plane was 45 minutes late, but that was due to a delay in Namibia. Nothing to do with our ‘much-maligned’ Airport!

Estimated international arrivals

The following chart was incorporated into an article ‘Airport Opens Up Opportunities On St Helena’ published on Money Web on 7th November 2013. The article appeared on our Read articles about St Helena (Older) page, but has now been archived to our Much Older St Helena Stuff{4} blog. However we thought the data presented in the chart might still be useful.

Estimated international arrivals

Naturally these predictions were based on the original airport plan for one 737-800 flight (approx. 230 passengers) per week.

Laugh at funny Fly here humour - LOL

Credits:
{a} Neil Fantom{b} Andy Simpson{c} St Helena Airport{d} Firle Davies @thewhirlinzim{e} Governor Lisa Phillips{f} SH Travel{g} Nick Stevens{h} Tourist Office{i} Roger McGough{j} Mantis St Helena

Footnotes:
{1} The guns are Royal Navy 32 pounders, manufactured in the 1780s, and were recovered from Banks Battery and restored. More island cannons here.{2} What happens if Walvis Bay is also unavailable has never been disclosed!{3} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.{4} See more blogs.{5} This is a safety measure. If the flight arrives at St Helena but is unable to land due to unexpected bad weather, the nearest diversion airport is Ascension Island, 700 miles away. If this too is unavailable the aircraft must have enough fuel to safely return to Walvis Bay{2}.

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