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The fastest way to get here

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

Flying is the fastest way to get to St Helena…

This page is in indexes: Island Activity, Island Detail

Fly here • The fastest way to get here [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]{a}

Ways to get here [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

Other ‘getting here’ pages:

• Getting Here

• RMS St Helena

• Yachting

• Cruise Ship Days

• Fly Yourself Here

• Visitor Information

Below: Scheduled Commercial Air ServiceOther Airport Uses‘Category C’Other Flying ThingsSt Helena Airport GamePoemRead More

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

Scheduled Commercial Air Service

South Africa - St Helena

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, with a connection from Cape Town. There is a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia. 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 76 seats available.

Poster [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

Route Map [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Route Map

Flight

Departure

Arrival

UTC

Local

UTC

Local

SA8131 JNB-WDH

07:00

09:00

09:00

10:00

SA8692 CPT-WDH

06:30

07:30

08:30

09:30

SA8131 WDH-HLE

09:30

10:30

13:15

SA8132 HLE-WDH

14:30

18:05

19:05

SA8132 WDH-JNB

18:40

19:40

20:30

22:30

SA8693 WDH-CPT

19:05

20:05

21:00

22:00

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 follwing 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-WDH

07:00

09:00

09:00

10:00

SA8692 CPT-WDH

06:30

07:30

08:30

09:30

SA8131 WDH-HLE

09:30

10:30

13:15

SA8131 HLE-ASI

11:15

14:30

Overnight stop

SA8132 ASI-HLE

11:15

13:15

SA8132 HLE-WDH

14:30

18:05

19:05

SA8132 WDH-JNB

18:40

19:40

20:30

22:30

SA8693 WDH-CPT

19:05

20:05

21:00

22:00

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’.

Airport entrance, 2017 {1} [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Airport entrance, 2017{1}{b}

Other Airport Uses

Below: Fly here in your private plane?Medical EvacuationCharter 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

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 [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Pre-check-in{c}

Check-in [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Check-in{c}

Island from the air [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Island from the air{c}

Landing [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Landing{d}

Airport busy! [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Airport busy!{e}

‘Category 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.

Category C [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

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

  • An approved instrument approach procedure

  • At least one runway with no performance limited procedure for take-off and/or landing

  • Published circling minima not higher than 1,000ft

  • Night operations capability

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:

  • Non Standard Approach aids and/or approach patterns, or

  • Unusual local weather conditions, or

  • Unusual characteristics or performance limitations, or

  • Any other relevant considerations including obstructions, physical layout, lighting etc.

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].

Other Flying Things

Air Traffic Control Zones [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

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:

  • Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), also known as quadcopters, UAVs, radio controlled aircraft or drones(see the Drone Zones Map, below);

  • Kites;

  • Large Baloons (e.g. hot-air balloons and tethered ‘barrage’ balloons);

  • and even small ‘party’ baloons when realeased in bulk (1000 or more).

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 (155.0Kb).

Drone Zones Map

Drone Zones Map [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]
Drone Zones Map{f}

St Helena Airport Game

St Helena Airport Game from the Google™ Play store [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

In August 2016 a computer game became available on the Google™ Play store, which allows you to land a (small) plane on St Helena Airport.

We are told that the game features a reasonably realistic portrayal of St Helena…and even incorporates wind shear!

Airport, 2017 [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

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.

Roger McGough

Read More

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

Article: “New Air Link and Luxury Hotel Will Transform Tourism on Tiny, Remote St Helena

skift.com, 7th October 2017{2}

While it will still be pretty hard to get to (unless you live in Namibia or South Africa), St Helena is likely to see a significant increase in the number of tourists, especially from those keen to go to a place that not many other people have visited.

Jacob’s Ladder [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

One of the remotest islands in the world is about to enter the modern tourist age.

When the British exiled Napoleon Bonaparte to St Helena in 1815, it took the conquered emperor a full 10 weeks to reach the island. Two centuries later, it’s still a five-day trip by mail boat - assuming you happen to be starting from somewhere as close as Cape Town, South Africa.

But on Oct. 14, the tiny British overseas territory will get its first-ever scheduled flights. Two weeks later, St Helena’s first luxury hotel, a 30-room property in a trio of Georgian buildings, will open its doors.

Located about 1,200 miles off the western coast of Africa, St Helena is best known (for those who know it at all) as the place where Napoleon was banished after being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. The house where he lived - complete with the original furnishings - is one of the island’s main tourist attractions.

But it’s not the only draw. The 47-square-mile tropical island offers mountain biking, sportfishing, and scuba diving in waters where visibility is up to 100 feet. St Helena is one of a handful of places in the world where humans can swim with massive (and passive) whale sharks. It’s home to a 185-year-old tortoise named Jonathan, the world’s longest straight staircase, and a double-hole golf course that players go around twice, trying not to hit any goats along the way.

Then there’s St Helena distillery, said to be the world’s most remote. Its specialty is Tungi (TOON-jee), a white spirit made from prickly pear and bottled in a beveled glass flask shaped to evoke the island’s famous (-ish) staircase.

Because of the limited transportation options, only a couple of thousand tourists make it to the island each year. The Royal Mail Ship St Helena, a combination cargo-passenger ship, makes the trip just a few times a month. And until now, the airport was able to accept only private flights.

The world’s most useless airport,” as some have called it, cost 285 million British pounds [more than $400 million] and was meant to push St Helena toward economic self-sufficiency. A month before it opened in 2016, test flights revealed dangerous wind conditions, and commercial flights were put on hold. The airport has been taking only private and medical evacuation flights.

But now, South African airline Airlink will run weekly from Johannesburg to Windhoek, Namibia, and on to St Helena.

The Independent reported that Airlink won’t fill its Embraer jets to capacity. To keep the plane light enough to use less of the runway and avoid the spots with most dangerous winds, it will fill only 76 of the 99 seats. It’s hoping to bump that up to 87 in 2018.

Meanwhile, the new hotel by resort developer Mantis, which owns five-star safari lodges in Africa, Explora resorts in Chile, and other high-end properties, promises to be a game-changer. St Helena’s official tourism website lists just two B&Bs and a half-dozen hotels and guest houses, most of which have no websites.

As relatively speedy as the flights may be, this might actually be the perfect time to reserve a berth to St Helena. Not only is the island on its way to changes, but the mail ship will eventually be decommissioned. Book now, or permanently miss the boat.

Our Comment: This is a strange, un-focussed article - it announces the flights and then recommends coming by ship. It also has some noteable errors: there already is a luxury hotel on the island (Farm Lodge); and goats are not loose on the golf course (though they may be tethered nearby). But on the “Any publicity is good publicity” theory…

The www.nzherald.co.nz on 9th October 2017 reported broadly the same article, but omitting the advice to come by ship.

closinghumourimage [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]

Laugh at funny flyhere humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here]


Credits:

{a} Neil Fantom

{b} Andy Simpson, www.penspen.com

{c} Governor Lisa Phillips

{d} St Helena News & Travel.

{e} Nick Stevens

{f} St Helena Airport



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} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.



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