South African airline Comair will operate the Boeing 737-800, configured to seat about 120 passengers, on the route from the St Helena Island’s airport to Johannesburg. A British Overseas Territory, St Helena is a remote South Atlantic island, where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was once exiled and died after his defeat at Waterloo.
Comair chief executive Erik Venter said: “The arrival of our newest addition is part of our ongoing fleet upgrade strategy and an important step towards operating the most modern and efficient fleet within southern Africa.
“We are very excited that this aircraft will be operating our St Helena air service.”
Although the flights from Johannesburg to St Helena were originally earmarked for late February 2016, Comair CEO Erik Venter said that Comair was still awaiting final certification of the island's new airport, which had been built by South African contractor Basil Read and would be operated in partnership with South Africa’s Lanseria Airport.
Venter said he was optimistic that the inaugural flight should take place by May this year. Nonetheless, Comair announced flight times to the island.
They will be offering weekly flights to St Helena, every Saturday, on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft in British Airways livery. The flights will offer both business class and economy seating on the five-hour flight.
One flight a week will depart from Johannesburg every Saturday morning at 08:20 (local South African time) and will arrive at St Helena Airport at approximately 11:30 (local time in St Helena).
The return flight will depart from St Helena at 12:30 (local time in St Helena) and will arrive at OR Tambo International Airport at approximately 18:30 (local South African time).
The aircraft will be capable of carrying up to 120 passengers and a limited amount of cargo. Increased frequency “will be considered if there is sufficient demand,” Comair says. Prices for tickets to the remote island is yet to be announced. No visa is required to visit the island, but visitors are urged so check out the St Helena Government website for more details.
On 9th October 2015, following a long campaign by Saints in the Falklands and on Ascension, the St Helena Government announced that Comair would also operate flights to and from Ascension Island, initially on a four-weekly basis but subject to review.
Before 15 September 2015, no aircraft had ever landed on the remote St Helena. The landing of a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft on the island last year signaled the end of an era, as it was previously only accessible by through a five-day ship journey, made by the Royal Mail Ship which sails along the western coast of Africa to St Helena.
In 2016, the RMS St Helena will make her final voyage to the island.
The ship invited passengers on the final voyage saying, We will be bidding a very fond farewell to the magical RMS St Helena in 2016 as the new airport on St Helena opens its runways.
Passengers who would like to go on this journey can do so on Voyage 242, from 7 May 2016 to 5 June 2016 or Voyage 243, from 14 June 2016 to 15 July 2016.
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So they are going to reconfigure a 180 seat aircraft into a 120 seat aircraft to fly a once weekly service. I predict this route will last a year and be scrapped as uneconomical.Mar 08th, 2016 - 03:12 pm 0
The best aircraft to fly this route would be the Boeing 757 not a 7378 but the runway was not built long enough to accomodate the 757 from the outset...
The airlink is going to require a British Govt subsidy - the monthly link to Asc another UK subsidy.Mar 08th, 2016 - 08:50 pm 0
Most Saints don't want to go to S Africa - their family links are mostly in UK. Sadly the extra £100million or whatever was not spent on realigning the runway to make it longer so the A330s of MOD that fly As and Falklands could have then flown say once a week UK-AsC-StH-Falklands and the next week the return route. Then everybody would have been happy - and no subsidy required as MOD already charge civilians full commercial type costs.
Or even a commercial line could then have looked at the whole route instead say once a week - taking all civilians off the raf/mod - then mod could cut their 8 flights a month to say 5 or 6 - and save about £ 1/2million a month.
More than a realignment was required and I don't think £100,000,000 would've covered it but even if it did that would've been massive additional cost to the project which already came to a bit less than £200,000,000. It's easy to say just spend it but that's a bit like saying next time you upgrade your Disco make it a Range Rover instead. Sure, in the long run it may have paid off (may have!) but there's only so much money to go round at any one time.Mar 08th, 2016 - 11:30 pm 0