AIR SERVICES TO ST HELENA AND ASCENSION ISLAND
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Part 1
St Helena Government and SA Airlink (‘Airlink’) are pleased to announce that they have today signed an agreement for Airlink to provide scheduled commercial air services 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.
Scheduled Air Services
When is the commencement date for scheduled air services?
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.
Where will the service operate from and to?
The St Helena Air Service will operate from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB). There will be a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia (WDH) before the flight continues to St Helena Airport (HLE).
On the return route, the flight will stopover at Windhoek before returning to Johannesburg.
In summary, the route is as follows: JNB – WDH – HLE – WDH – JNB
The stopovers at Windhoek have been carefully scheduled so that on both the onward and outbound journeys to/from St Helena, the flight will coincide with the SA Airlink flight between Cape Town International Airport and Windhoek.
Customers will be able to book flights between Cape Town and St Helena and vice versa on a single ticket contract with a short connection at Windhoek. Thus the routing will be:
CPT – WDH (connect) – HLE – WDH – (connect) – CPT
What will be the frequency of the flights?
Initially, the flight will operate on a weekly basis on a Saturday. There is scope for SA Airlink to lay on an additional mid-week flight as demand grows.
How many seats will be available on each flight?
Initially, the maximum number of seats available on each flight will be 76.
How much does a ticket cost? Fares will be announced when ticket sales go live. There will be a number of fare bands, for example, depending on whether a passenger wishes to travel in economy or business class and how far in advance the passenger is making his/her booking. We expect child fares will be 50% of the adult fare price. Further information will follow prior to tickets going on sale.
When will tickets go on sale? This will be announced in due course.
How can I book a ticket? Tickets will be available online via the Airlink website and through all normal IATA global distribution systems. Passengers are advised to contact their IATA travel agent. For those passengers that are resident on St Helena, Airlink proposes to also use local agents who will be able to manage ticket bookings. Further information will follow prior to tickets going on sale.
Will passengers from St Helena be able to catch connecting flights on the same day?
Ultimately this will depend on the passenger’s intended destination. Connections via Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg offers connectivity to over 80 airports around the world. Connections between Johannesburg and Cape Town (and vice versa) Some passengers may also wish to connect from Johannesburg to Cape Town or vice versa. There are around 50 flights per day that connect Johannesburg and Cape Town (and in reverse) and there are options that coincide with the St Helena Air Service arrival and departure times at Johannesburg.
Connections via Windhoek
The stopovers at Windhoek have been carefully scheduled so that on both the onward and outbound journeys to/from St Helena, the flight will coincide with the SA Airlink flight between Windhoek and Cape Town International Airport. Cape Town International Airport also offers flight connectivity to the UK and Europe.
A General Point on Connectivity
Passengers should allow sufficient time to connect with onward flights. There is a minimum one hour connection time at both OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and at Cape Town International Airport. If in doubt, passengers may wish to consider an overnight stop.
Why was Johannesburg chosen over Cape Town as the destination hub in South Africa?
An in depth analysis was undertaken which considered a number of issues, including but not limited to: local preference; airline preference; connectivity; destinations served; seasonal fluctuations in service; fares for direct flights from European destinations and their flight times; access to medical facilities; potential for two centre tourist destinations. It was agreed that the initial service should originate from Johannesburg with connectivity to Cape Town.
If the flight is going to Johannesburg, does this mean that medical referrals will have to go there? Connection to Cape Town will be available from the beginning of operations and can readily be used for services currently rendered in Cape Town for SHG and the Health Directorate. Necessary arrangements to ensure access to services in Johannesburg will also be explored.
What term does the agreement stipulate?
The agreement covers a three year period, with the option to extend for a further two years.
What needs to happen before the service can start?
SA Airlink has already started the process to obtain the final regulatory approvals for the service. In order to comply with the requirements of the SA CAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority), SA Airlink will need to carry out an ETOPS (Extended Range Twin Engine Operations) Proving Flight and more information will follow in due course.
In addition to formal regulatory approvals, there is a great deal of practical planning required and this is already underway. For example, SA Airlink and SHG are in discussion regarding fares and ticket distribution systems.
Passenger Information What is the baggage allowance?
For checked or hold baggage, the general free allowance on SA Airlink flights is 20Kg in Economy Class and 30Kg in Business Class per adult passenger.
In addition to the checked or hold baggage, passengers may carry the following cabin or hand baggage. Each piece should not exceed 8kg.
Economy Class: 1 Piece plus 1 slimline laptop bag Business Class: 2 Pieces plus 1 slimline laptop bag
What is the freight/cargo allowance?
SHG has reached agreement with SA Airlink that in the first instance the priority for cargo/freight will be given to essential services for the Island. A typical example is the Island’s mail which will be given priority over other types of cargo. Any remaining cargo/freight capacity can then be made available.
Cargo transport is currently charged at GBP £1.88 per Kg from Johannesburg or St Helena respectively. Note that this fee will be subject to change from time to time.