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

‘How do I fly to St Helena?’

This page is in indexes: Island Activity, Island Detail

Fly here? • Coming soon… [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

Airport Status

Fly here image [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

At the time of writing{2}, the status of our Airport is as follows:

Medevac flights: 

OPEN (many flights have already arrived and departed.)

Around 50 in total, as at 1st May 2017

Private flights

OPEN (many flights have already arrived and departed.)

Scheduled Commercial Air Service

SA Airlink logo [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

On 9th June 2017 the Government of St Helena announced that South African airline SA Airlink had won the tender to supply a scheduled commercial air service to St Helena, details of which were announced on 21st July 2017.


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

The answer to question above is that at present, unless you own your own plane, you can’t…but soon it will be possible for everyone! Read more…

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

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

Scheduled Commercial Air Service

The following was announced by the Government of St Helena on 21st July 2017.

SA Airlink logo [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

The Government of St Helena(‘SHG’) and SA Airlink (‘Airlink’) are pleased to announce that they have today signed an agreement for Airlink to provide a scheduled commercial air service to St Helena Island. Airlink will also operate a monthly charter service between St Helena and Ascension Island. This follows a period of contractual negotiations with Airlink.

Over the coming weeks, Airlink 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, 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 a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia before the flight continues to St Helena Airport. On the return route, the flight will stopover at Windhoek before returning to Johannesburg. On both legs of the journey there will be an opportunity for a connection at Windhoek to a connecting flight to and from Cape Town - this gives flexibility to passengers to go to either destination.

OR Tambo is an international hub and offers connectivity to over 80 airports around the world including to the UK and Europe. Further information about the planned service can be found in the attached Q & A.

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.

SA Airlink aircraft [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

HE Governor Lisa Phillips said:

Undoubtedly, 2017 is the year of positive change for St Helena. Very soon a trip to South Africa, for St Helenians, will take a matter of hours rather than days. And we will be able to welcome tourists here in larger numbers and improve the economy of the Island and offer a better life for those who live here. My thanks to everyone who has worked so hard in getting to this point and also my thanks for the funding we received to enable it to happen. I am confident the future is a bright one.

Airlink’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, added:

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 thirty percent annually which could become an important source market for St Helena’s tourism aspirations.

Information on the commencement date, ticket sales and details on the cost of fares and sales distribution, including for Ascension Island, will be issued in due course. The fares offered are anticipated to be the same or similar between Johannesburg and St Helena and Cape Town and St Helena.

Airlink is a privately owned airline registered in South Africa. It is a franchisee to South African Airways. Airlink is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and as such is IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) accredited. Airlink is a well-established South Africa domiciled airline operating on a comprehensive scheduled network with domestic and regional passenger and cargo services offering more than fifty thousand flights annually.

The Government of St Helena also provided a ‘Q & A document.

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

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?]

Check-in [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

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

Landing [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

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

‘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{e}

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?]


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

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

Roger McGough

closinghumourimage [Saint Helena Island Info:Fly here?]

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


{a} Andy Simpson, www.penspen.com

{b} Governor Lisa Phillips

{c} St Helena News & Travel.

{d} Nick Stevens

{e} sthelenaairport.com


{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} .


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