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Fly Yourself Here

Open for visitors

Pilots take no special joy in walking: pilots like flying.{c}

You can fly here in your own plane

On this page we aim to provide the information that private business flyers will need to fly to St Helena ‍Airport‍.

St Helena Airport is operated by Inline Image @@E@@{1}St Helena Airport Limited, to whom operational enquiries should be directed.

Runway Numbers

There is only one physical runway but there are two runway numbers, depending on which direction you approach/depart. They are currently 19 and 01{2}.

Regulations & Charges

St Helena is a Category C airport and requires prior permission before an aircraft is allowed to operate into St Helena Airport.

The airport advises:

It is imperative that the aircraft operator takes due consideration of the specific conditions particularly the reported windshear issues on RWY20 and possible use of RWY02 as the alternate.

See The St Helena airport local traffic regulations.

As at May 2016 the following charges were applicable:

And don’t forget the passenger surcharge of £100/person.

More on the Airport Website.

‘Category C’


For further and/or updated information contact Gwyneth Howell, Accountable Manager & Head of Operations hoo@airportsthelena.com.

Fuel Available

The fuel grades available are as follows:

According to the Fuel Manager: there is no scope (at this stage) to hold Aviation grade gasoline for spark ignition aircraft.

As at May 2016, fuel was £1 per litre.

Fuel Contact Details

If you have an enquiry regarding fuels, please see the contact details at www.penspen.com.

Other Useful Information

The ‘Pilots’ section of the Airport Website contains useful information.

Other Flying Things

Below: Aviation OrdinanceDrone Zones MapLargest AircraftMystery Helicopter - Resolved!Airport Game

The Aviation Ordinance

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.

Please Note In December 2019 the permissions for the ‘no fly’ zone were relaxed, allowing a drone to operate in this zone if (a) the activity is for a ‘legitimate research purpose’ (not explained) and (b) St Helena Airport is notified in advance.

Drone Zones Map

Largest Aircraft

Boeing C-17
Boeing C-17{a}

As at the time of writing, the largest aircraft to successfully operate to St Helena Airport arrived on 19th May 2023 - an RAF-operated Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The aircraft did circuit exercises and achieved a landing, staying overnight and flying off the next day.

The purpose of the exercise was not disclosed and this, inevitably, led to some speculation:

We’ll update the above whan (if?) we are told!

Incidentally, according to The Sentinel: In 2022, this very Globemaster carried the body of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt ahead of the sovereign’s state funeral in London.

Mystery Helicopter - Resolved!

Some time ago we posted as below. We are grateful to all the contributors (further below) but are pleased to announce that the mystery has now been resolved. John Coyle contacted us with more information about his photo, as follows:

The photo was taken by me in either 1968 or 1969, when I believe HMS Zulu was in the bay. I am also sending you a better quality scan!

In November 2020 he wrote:

There is absolutely no question that the photo was taken between about June ‘68 and February ‘69, during the time I was on the island! The slide was processed in South Africa in March 1969: at that time, this was the only way Kodachrome transparencies could be developed, there being no facilities on the island. Your correspondent is mistaken.

That’s good enough for us and we now consider the mystery resolved.

Our original query

We have seen the image below, thought to date from the early 1960s, of a Navy helicopter landing on the lawn of Plantation House. We are curious to know what ship launched it and when it was visiting. If you can help, please contact us.


We received three replies:

  1. My guess is that it’s from HMS Leopard or HMS Lynx, which visited St Helena together 15-17th August 1959 (see www.armedforcessupport.co.uk). I remember the RM Band concert.
  2. Firstly, it appears HMS Leopard and HMS Lynx were Leopard class Frigates, which didn’t have a flight deck, so couldn’t have launched this helicopter. The helicopter is a Westland Wasp anti-submarine helicopter. A helicopter with large number 442 and airframe number XT439 is registered to HMS Zulu. The website helis.com, gives more detail on Westland Wasp XT439. It was in service from 13th December 1965 to 25th March 1986. It was known to have served with 845 Naval Air Squadron; and with 829 NAS on board the frigates HMS Ajax (F114), HMS Zulu (F124) and HMS Rhyl (F129), and possibly others. So we know which helicopter airframe it is, we just don’t know which year or which ship it was from. From photos of Wasps, the paint colour for the numbers seemed to change from white to black in about 1983 (approximately June). XT439 was delivered in 1965, so the photo is between 1965 and probably about 1983.
  3. I looked up XT439 Westland wasp C/N f.9609 on the Helicopter Database www.helis.com/‌database/‌cn/‌213 and the 442 call sign was only used between Aug 1977 until c Jul 1979, whilst it was on board HMS Zulu. On 5th Sept 1977 HMS Zulu departed Her majesty’s Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth as part of Task Group 317.6 for a 7½ month Australia and Far East group deployment, led by HMS Tiger. They would have travelled down the west coast of Africa before going around the Cape before heading for Australia. With that in mind it would have been between 5th September 1977 and 21st April 1978 as per the HMS Zulu’s records.

St Helena Airport Game

St Helena Airport Game from the Google Play™ store

In August 2016 a video 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 forums.x-plane.org.

Aviation Observances

International Civil Aviation Day, on 7th December, is not marked on St Helena.

For more annual events see our page This Year.

Read More

Article: Travel Broadens the Mind

By Vince Thompson, published in The Independent 2nd October 2015 (extract){4}

Interestingly, Niall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of Enterprise St Helena, announced on Sunday that several enquiries had been made by people with private jets who want to see St Helena when the airport is operational. People with private jets are not normally asking the taxi driver at the airport to take them to an imitation fish and ship shop or a fake English pub; such people are more likely to have a good idea of what St Helena has to offer and will be keen to see more and know more about what it is that interests them about this Island. To recall the words of Ban Ki-moon once more, they are far more likely to be interested in the cultural and natural heritage of St Helena. I think the same will be true for most of the tourists who arrive on the scheduled commercial air service or charter flights.

On the other hand, people who have enough money to afford the convenience of their own private jets are also used to many other similar conveniences. Many such people will have their own businesses and will want to have daily contact with people who are running the business in their absence. They will expect to receive an email which may have a 3MB attachment in a matter of seconds. They will not flinch at having to pay 17p a minute for a local mobile phone call or almost £4 a minute for an international call on a mobile phone but they will expect to get good reception immediately from whatever part of the Island they decide to make the call. If they decide to relax in front of the TV for half an hour before dinner I cannot imagine what reaction they would have if the TV screen told them there is no signal. They may expect to make all kinds of international financial transactions at the Bank of St Helena and I can imagine there will be hell to pay if they are told something like we don’t do that here. If they want to make contact with a government official to get advice or start some sort of negotiations the negative effect of being told the person dealing with that is off-island at the moment could be not just embarrassment but expensive because of the opportunities lost.


{a} St Helena Airport Limited{b} John Coyle{c} Neil Armstrong, talking about his famous moonwalk


{1} Do you see anything curious about this logo? The symbol is basically a big C with words inside it and an aircraft on the tail. Is it just a coincidence that our airport is officially designated CATEGORY C? We think we should be told… {2} Until March 2022 they were 20 and 02; they were changed due to movements of the Earth’s Magnetic North Pole.{3} No, we have no idea where a ‘Domestic Flight’ would operate to or from!{4} @@RepDis@@