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…

Location Map flyhere

Ways to get here

Other ‘getting here’ pages:

• Getting Here

• Yachting

• Cruise Ship Days

• Fly Yourself Here

• Visitor Information

Below: Scheduled Commercial Air ServiceCheck-in timesOther Airport Uses‘Category C’Other Flying ThingsAirport GamePoemFake TelephoneRead More

SEE ALSO: 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: all flights have been suspended since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not currently known when the service will resume operation. Please see island media for up-to-date information:

S.A.M.S. Radio 1




Please note: there are many sources on the Internet purporting to give news and information about St Helena. Some of these are not reliable and you should use them with caution{2}.

Scheduled Commercial Air Service

Below: South Africa - St Helena- Ascension IslandTickets, Etc.Flight DisruptionsService changesAirbus A318 & Boeing 757Airport Website


Route Map
Route Map
First scheduled commercial air service flight lands, 14th October 2017
First scheduled commercial air service flight lands, 14th October 2017
Pilot’s eye view, runway 20
Pilot’s eye view, runway 20{j}
Airport sunrise
Airport sunrise{d}

South Africa - St Helena

The scheduled commercial air service to St Helena commenced on 14th October 2017. Provided by 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{7} - it is not possible to join the flight at WVB. There is no stopover on the return flight.





















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.




















Overnight stop








Tickets, Etc.

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


Checked Baggage

Carry On
Each piece should not exceed 8kg

Business Class


2 Pieces plus 1 slimline laptop bag

Economy Class


1 Piece plus 1 slimline laptop bag

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. In January 2020 it was announced that these extra summer mid-week flights would continue at least until March 2022.

Airbus A318 & Boeing 757

Emergency flight, 20th April 2020
Emergency flight, 20th April 2020{k}
2nd flight, 31st July 2020
2nd flight, 31st July 2020{k}

The Airport had experience of operating with an Airbus A318 on 20th April 2020, when an emergency flight from the UK chartered from Titan Airways brought medical supplies, Covid-19 testing kits and a few passengers. Airport compliance manager James Kellet said Although the wind was quite strong on occasions, the aircraft performed very well and the crew gained valuable experience of operating to the Airport. The flight route was via Accra and Ascension Island, travelling back the same way.

A second flight operated at the end of July, again run by Titan Airways but this time using a Boeing 757. This therefore became the largest aircraft ever to land at St Helena Airport and, although not fully loaded, had no difficulty landing and taking off again. It also did some fly-around tests.

These events demonstrated the technical feasibility of operating a ‘direct’ (not via South Africa) flight to and from the UK, though at the time of writing no plans have been announced for a scheduled service.

Airport Website

St Helena Airport has a website at sthelenaairport.com.

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 threats posed by the incoming terroriststourists.

Puzzle explained!

Other Airport Uses

From the air
From the air{l}

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 (‘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.

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.

‘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.

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].

Other Flying Things

Below: Aviation OrdinanceDrone Zones MapMystery Helicopter - Resolved!

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.

NB: 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

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 royalnavymemories.co.uk/hms-leopard-1st-commission). 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 Sept 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 X-Plane.org.


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.{m}

Fake Telephone

The Fake
The Fake

Genuine British Telephones
The Real Thing

One peculiar feature found in the airport’s common area is the fake ‘British Telephone’. This, as can be seen (left) is a not-very-good facsimile of one of the traditional British red-box telephones, but its relevance is as unclear as the likeness is poor. Genuine British ‘call boxes’ can be seen in the photograph (right).

St Helena Telephones
St Helena style

In addition to being a poor replica there seems to be no relevance to the item. Traditional British call boxes were never, as far as we know, deployed on St Helena (our call boxes are as shown inner-right), so the object is not even a poor replica of something that was actually ever here.

We have no idea how the fake came to be at the Airport but we think the best thing to do would be to remove it. Maybe it would make a good hen-house…

If you are responsible for the fake, and want to defend the decision to locate it at the airport, please contact us. We’d love to know the thinking behind its placement there and would be delighted to publish your explanation.

Read More

Below: Article: First commercial flight touches down at St HelenaEstimated international arrivals

Article: First commercial flight touches down at St Helena

www.itv.com/news, 14th October 2017{4}

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{5} 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.

{a} Governor Lisa Phillips{b} SH Travel{c} Nick Stevens{d} Neil Fantom{e} Andy Simpson{f} St Helena Airport{g} Tourist Office{h} John Coyle{i} Matt Joshua{j} Titan Airways{6}{k} St Helena Airport Limited{l} Firle Davies @thewhirlinzim{m} Roger McGough

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{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} Our social media feeds are, of course, completely safe and reliable!{3} What happens if Walvis Bay is also unavailable has never been disclosed!{4} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.{5} See more blogs.{6} Who operated the emergency flight bringing in Covid-19 medical supplies on 20th April 2020 (when this image was captured).{7} 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{3}.

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