First commercial flight arrives in St Helena

An exciting new chapter in St Helena Island’s history has begun after the first ever commercial flight from South Africa touched down at St Helena Airport.

Using their Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft, Airlink brought in this inaugural flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, following a six-hour journey incorporating a fuelling stop in Windhoek, Namibia.

Airlink will now operate a weekly service between St Helena and Johannesburg and St Helena and Cape Town (via the stopover at Windhoek International Airport).

Seventy-two passengers comprising returning St Helenians or ‘Saints’ and invited guests –  tour operators and international media – were greeted by governor Lisa Phillips on arrival and then by a full St Helenian welcome in the packed arrivals hall.
Phillips 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.”

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The commencement of a commercial air service is St Helena’s link to the rest of the world and will transform the Island’s tourism industry.

The growth of the tourism industry will have a positive knock-on effect for other sectors including, agriculture, fisheries and construction.

Sales and marketing manager for Airlink, Karin Murray, added: “This is a momentous historic occasion for St Helena, its citizens and its stakeholders.

“On behalf of all of us at Airlink, the staff, the board and the shareholders of Airlink, I hereby express our absolute joy and pride at having accomplished this inaugural flight and for having established this scheduled public air transportation air bridge for St Helena.

“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.”

The weekly air service on a Saturday will make it cheaper, quicker and easier to travel to and from St Helena, and will help ensure the Island’s long-term prosperity.