After major delays due to wind shear complications, St Helena Airport on the British island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, has finally welcomed its first commercial flight from South Africa.
The new airport had been scheduled to begin operation in mid-2016 but unforeseen complications arising with test landings meant that regular commercial services had been delayed until now.
Airline operator Airlink now operate a weekly service between St Helena and Johannesburg and St Helena and Cape Town using its Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft.
Commenting on the flight, Lisa Phillips, governor of Saint Helena, said, “For St Helena, today is the start of a bright new future. We are determined to make sure that air services work to benefit all St Helenians and bring about a higher standard of living for those on the Island. We are open for business and investment and we know tourists will marvel at the beauty of the Island.”
Karin Murray, sales and marketing manager for Airlink, said, “This is indeed a privilege for Airlink and we congratulate St Helena on achieving this auspicious milestone which has been many years in the making.”
It is expected that the commencement of a commercial air service to St Helena will transform the island’s tourism industry, which will have a knock-on effect on other sectors including agriculture, fisheries and construction.
Airlink will also operate a monthly charter service between St Helena and Ascension Island. This service will commence with the first flight from St Helena on November 18, 2017, returning November 19. Thereafter the flight will take place on the second weekend of every month.