#FindYourEscape: Airlink flights to St Helena from SA now on sale

2017-09-22 09:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town – The much-anticipated ticket sales for the scheduled air service to St Helena will go live at 8:00 am on Friday, 22 September, making the island's goal of air travel a reality.

St Helena Government (SHG) and SA Airlink announced that the airline will operate a weekly service between St Helena and Johannesburg, and St Helena and Cape Town, via the stop-over at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia.

Flights commence on Saturday, 14 October 2017, and 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,” advises SHG.

ALSO SEE: St Helena chooses SA Airlink to service the island

“Passengers should note that Airport and Government Infrastructure taxes may not initially be featured on all computerised reservations systems,” says SHG.

“This means that for a short period only, it might not be possible for passengers to distinguish fares and taxes separately on their tickets; instead, passengers will see an overall cost.”

“Over the coming days, all computerised reservation system components of the Global Distribution System will feature these relevant taxes which will be included in ticket sale transactions accordingly,” adds SHG.

Flying to St Helena from Johannesburg or Cape Town

Kerry Yon of Solomon & Company - a flight bookings agency on the island for locals - told Traveller24 that “Flights are scheduled to come every Saturday but as demand grows then this could also mean a second departure.”

The initial weekly service will be operated using an Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft - offering business class and economy seats - with the flight time from Johannesburg to St Helena being approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes. This includes a 30 minute stop at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia, before the flight continues to St Helena Airport.

SEE: PICS: Aircraft makes technical stop at St Helena Airport

Airlink’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, says "Airlink is confident that our Embraer E190 ETOPS certified aircraft is most suited to the demanding environmental conditions prevalent at St Helena and that we will establish a safe and reliable air bridge between St Helena and South Africa - thereby creating air linkages between St Helena and the rest of the world by way of the inter-connectivity offered at Johannesburg.

On the return route, the flight will stop over at Windhoek before returning to Johannesburg. On both legs of the journey there will be an opportunity at Windhoek to use a connecting flight to and from Cape Town, giving passengers the flexibility to go to either destination.

“We are pleased to be able to connect both Cape Town and Johannesburg to St Helena by way of designed flight coordination at Windhoek. We acknowledge that Cape Town is an important destination for Saints and we recognise that Cape Town enjoys significant tourism visitations growing at 30% annually which could become an important source market for St Helena’s tourism aspirations,” adds Foster.

Ticket prices

Ticket prices start at £804 (including taxes – about R14 504 @R18.04/£) for an economy return fare on the Johannesburg route and £846 (including taxes – R15 261) on the Cape Town route.

“The basic fares for the Johannesburg and Cape Town routes are identical but there is a difference in the overall costs due to differing airport taxes,” says SHG.

St Helena to Johannesburg (return) for business class upper will cost £1 544 (R27 853 ) and economy upper £1 244 (R22 441), while return flights to Cape Town will cost £1 586 (R28 611) for business class upper and £1 286 (R23 199) for economy upper. Fares are subject to change and availability.

SEE: St Helena luxury hotel boom on track as SA Airlink deal being finalised

SHG adds that Airlink is currently pursuing Fifth Freedom Rights on the leg between Windhoek and the island, to allow passengers from other carriers to join or disembark the St Helena service at Windhoek.

“If granted, Fifth Freedom Rights this would mean Airlink could sell tickets for the St Helena and Windhoek legs of the journey,” says SHG.

Airlink will also operate a monthly charter service between St Helena and Ascension Island.” The flight will commence on the third weekend in November 2017. Thereafter the flight will take place on the second weekend of every month,” adds SHG.

What to read next on Traveller24:

St Helena chooses SA Airlink to service the island

St Helena luxury hotel boom on track as SA Airlink deal being finalised

PICS: Aircraft makes technical stop at St Helena Airport