Tickets sales for the first ever flights between South Africa and the volcanic outpost in the South Atlantic Ocean, St Helena, is set to start “within the next week” with SA Airlink poised to operate a weekly service linking the island with Johannesburg and Cape Town via a refuelling stopover at Windhoek in Namibia.
Pan African development website Elicit Africa reports the inaugural flight for SA Airlink’s scheduled St Helena service will be as early as Saturday, 14 October this year. Elicit Africa quotes the St. Helena Tourism Authority who says on this occasion the aircraft – an Embraer E190-100IGW ETOPS – will overnight on St Helena and will return to Johannesburg via Windhoek on Sunday, 15 October. Thereafter the service will operate on a weekly basis, travelling from Johannesburg to Windhoek to St Helena, and back, all in one day.
SA Airlink is currently pursuing Fifth Freedom rights on the leg between Windhoek and St Helena. This will allow passengers from other carriers to join or disembark the St Helena service in Windhoek. SA Airlink can then also sell tickets for the St Helena and Windhoek legs exclusively.
St. Helena island is part of the British Overseas Territories. It’s famous because of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile and death on the island, as commemorated by a now empty tomb. Climbing destinations include the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder and Diana’s Peak, sheltering endemic plant and animal life.
This island offers 47 square miles of “sub-tropical paradise” and is punted as one of the most extraordinary places in the world.
The St Helena Government and SA Airlink (Airlink) announced that travellers wishing to fly to St Helena, a long awaited dream for the island, which recently completed the building of a £285m airport, will be able to buy ticket from the SA Airlink website and through all normal IATA global distribution systems from “early September”.
StHelenatourism.com says in a blog prices for travel on the Embraer E190-100IGW ETOPS from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Cape Town to St Helena, will be:
– £846 including taxes in Economy and £1,586 in Business for a return ticket from St Helena to Cape Town; and
– £804 including taxes in Economy and £1,544 in Business for a return ticket from St Helena to Johannesburg.
Passengers will have the choice of both Economy and Business Class on the flights, with 70 seats in Economy and six in Business.
The Embraer E190-100IGW ETOPS did a test flight on 21 August this year (2017) with numerous take offs and landings at St Helena Airport. This has resulted in Airlink receiving the required approvals from SA authorities to operate this service.
The plane will depart Johannesburg each Saturday morning at 09:00 local time and fly to Windhoek in Namibia where it will refuel and connect with the incoming Airlink service from Cape Town that will have departed at 10:30. Passengers on-board will then fly on to St Helena landing on the island at 13:15. Total flight time from Johannesburg and Cape Town to St Helena will be just over 6 hours, including the stop at Windhoek. Flight time from Windhoek to St Helena is 3 hours and 45 minutes.
The return flight to South Africa will depart on Saturdays from St Helena at 14:30 and again fly to Windhoek where passengers will be able to connect with an Airlink service to Cape Town, or fly on to Johannesburg. The flight is expected to arrive back in Johannesburg at 22:30 local time with the connecting passengers landing in Cape Town at 23:00.
A monthly SA Airlink flight to Ascension Island will commence on the third weekend in November 2017. Thereafter the flight will take place on the second weekend of every month.
For those passengers that are resident on St Helena, ticket bookings can be made via Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc’s Shipping & Travel Agency at the Malabar in Jamestown. Passengers can visit the Shipping & Travel Agency in person or can contact [email protected] or telephone 22523.