SA-Airlink-St Helena

Flights to St Helena, this is just the beginning

All eyes from around the world was on St Helena Island as SA Airlink inaugural flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg touched down at the St Helena Airport at 14.00 GMT October 14th 2017. Slightly later than originally planned but none the less this is the start of the weekly commercial service to St Helena from the outside world.

HE Governor Lisa Phillips greeted the 72 passengers as they disembarked the Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft whilst the majority of the island’s population watched from the viewing deck to witness this historic occasion.

Tour Operators from Eastcape Tours, Get Africa Travel, Springbok Atlas, and Island Holidays took the opportunity to take the first commercial flight to St Helena. Amongst the passengers were International media from the BBC, ITV, The Times, Thomson Reuters, Associated Press.

Shortly after the arrival a press conference with the visiting media (can be found here) took place in the terminal building. Eventually, the passengers made their way to their hotels and guesthouses which included some who are staying at the new Mantis Jamestown Hotel.

A full itinerary has been organized by the St Helena Tourist Office for the visitors which offers tours to some of the Islands tourist hotspots including a visit to Napoleon’s house, and marine tours on Sunday to see whales and Dolphins on the leeward side of the Island.

Enterprise St Helena and St Helena tourism had also scheduled various meetings to speak with investors who had arrived to look at opportunities here on the Island.

Governor Phillips invited arriving guests to a reception at plantation house to celebrate to what she describes as a proud and momentous occasion for St Helena.

Saint FM outside broadcast
Saint FM outside broadcast

The local community radio station Saint FM presented a special remote live broadcast from the arrivals terminal at the airport where they interview many passengers who just arrived on the aircraft. This broadcast was streamed live worldwide over the internet, which attracted hundreds of listeners.

Immediately after the landing social media sprang into life with live pictures and videos. The BBC broadcast their live report of the event on their world service and TV news at 10 back in Europe. The reporters described their amazing trip to the Island and a how St Helena would benefit from the commercial air service and also some history to the airport project.

Marine tours St Helena
Marine Tours St Helena

This morning the marine tours operators departed the pier head with their visitors hoping to show off St Helena’s marine potential to the tourism market.

The flight is due to depart St Helena at 14.30 GMT Sunday the 15th October.

 

 

 

RMS St Helena

Farewell and sale of The R.M.S St Helena 15 February 2018.

Today St Helena Government has announced that St Helena Line will withdraw the RMS St Helena from service in February 2018.

The RMS is now being offered for sale and London shipbroker CW Kellock & Co Ltd will handle the sale of the RMS to her new potential buyers.

The RMS St Helena has been in service for more than a quarter of a century and was built in 1990 in Aberdeen Scotland as a fit for purpose ship to serve St Helena Island in the South Atlantic.

RMS St Helena
RMS St Helena alongside in Cape town

The RMS as she is known as has a gross tonnage of 6,767 gross tonnes, and can accommodate 156 passengers in 56 cabins. The RMS St Helena was scheduled to be withdrawn from service in 2015 but due to the delay in the Islands airport opening and commencement of a commercial air service, she was forced to continue serving the island until an access solution was implemented. St Helena will now open its doors to commercial air travel on the 14 October 2017. The RMS St Helena will continue her final few voyages to the Island calling at St Helena, Ascension and a final voyage to Tristian da Cunha and it is hoped her the last voyage will end in Cape town on the 15 February 2018. Details of the sale of the RMS can be found on the RMS St Helena website.  If you would like to travel on the RMS St Helena for the very last time more information can be found here

A very popular Island made documentary film of life on board and the final UK voyage to London and on the river Thames can be found here.

You can also read about the film here

St Helena Calender 2018

Connect with St Helena all year round

You can now bring a small piece of this St Helena charm into your home all year round in a calendar with hand-drawn patterns of the place we all love.

This unique limited addition of the 2018 St Helena Calendar can be bought online and shipped to your door.

Read all about it here.  This is not to be missed

You can buy today and your product will be shipped tomorrow.

You can also buy and ship to your friends and family anywhere in the world as a gift.

A truly unique St Helena product designed by G-Unique St Helena 

 

 

SA Airlink_logo

Flight prices to St Helena announced

Today Councillor Lawson Henry told everyone in his Exco report on local radio that the price structure for air tickets to and from St Helena had been discussed and agreed.

It was also announced that it is anticipated that flights will start on the 14th October 2017 as the ETOPS 120  approval was also received from the South African civil  aviation

A return ticket from St Helena to Jo-burg will cost from £804 to £1544

A return ticket from St Helena to Capetown will cost from  £846.00 to £1586

Ticket details are now been loaded onto the reservation systems and details will follow via a press release of when they will become available.

A podcast of the announcement can be found here on the Saint FM website listen again page.

 

SA Airlink_logo

Come fly with SA Airlink to St Helena soon.

Following the press release from the St Helena Government today Friday 21st July, confirmed that an agreement had been signed off for SA Airlink to provide a scheduled air service to the Island from Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa to include a monthly service to Ascension Island. The service to and from Tambo will include a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia. The service will offer great opportunities for connecting flights to Cape town and other destinations. The aircraft confirmed to be used is an Embraer E190-100IGW that will offer business and economy class to its passengers.

Embraer ERJ-190
Embraer ERJ-190

Shortly after the news was released social media platforms kicked into life with comments and opinions on the air service. Many still questioned the preferred direct cape town flight, although most welcomed the news and are happy with the long awaited start of the new air service to the Island that is almost ready to be commissioned once the finalising regulatory approvals with the South African Civil Aviation Authority, others commented on medical services for the Island and how this will fit in with the route,  comments on the historical ties with Cape town were also raised, other comments were the Ascension link which is almost impossible as wide awake airfield is not accepting commercial flights due to safety concerns which means that Saints living on the Falklands would not benefit from the service immediately. SA Airlink’s CEO said SA Airlink are delighted to have reached this milestone and was extremely excited to be preparing for the proving flight shortly.

Other details along with tickets prices and commencement dates will follow shortly.

TL productions

The film. “The Last Farewell” is released.

The 58-minute film documentary of life on board and the last voyage of the RMS is produced by T.L. Productions.
Tony Leo who owns TL Productions thought it would be good to capture the moments of the last voyage of the RMS to the UK on camera after hearing the announcement in May 2015 which was a year in advance to the commencement of this historic voyage. Tony began planning well in advance, until he was finally ready for the trip on 22nd May 2016 when the RMS St Helena weighed anchor in James Bay and he departed St Helena for the UK via Ascension Island and Tenerife. Almost everyone on board were Island tourists and not the traditional saint traveller seeking jobs off shore and returning to work.
Everyone who travelled on board this amazing journey had a memorable time and enjoyed every moment of the journey. The voyage was so memorable, that it was difficult to determine what the highlights were.
This documentary film of the last remaining Royal Mail Ship is truly a masterpiece and will become a collector’s item in years to come” said Tony. This film is a true Saint production. The cameraman is a saint. A saint directed it, A saint edit, scripted and narrated it. The film features the London visit and the river Thames, crew members, passengers, key people who has contributed to the RMS success story over the years and also two of our St Helena’s ships captains. Captain Andrew Greentree and Captain Rodney Young. Sadly, Captain Young passed away suddenly only months after this voyage.

RMS St Helena-The Last Farewell
RMS St Helena – The Last Farewell amatuer video documentarty will be offered for sale here shortly

The film will be on sale in front of the Canister in Jamestown from 9 am on Saturday 15th July 2017. Reach back St Helena will be managing online sales from this weekend and a trailer, information on how to buy can be found online at www.sthelenalocal.com Where copies of the film can be ordered and shipped to Europe, USA and South Africa and other destinations, A film trailer, Information and updates can also be found on the TL production/sthelenalocal facebook shop and fan pages. If you have travelled on the RMS St Helena over the last 27 years, then watching this documentary should bring back many happy memories. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy watching this 58-minute documentary. read a more in depth view of the unseen film here

Heart Shape water fall

Light winds, lots of rain and James town flooding.

Six months ago, St Helena experienced a very frustrating situation whereas the Island was faced with a critical water shortage. In February that situation improved when the long awaited down pour of rain finally came.

Although rainfall has been fairly consistent over the last few weeks, yesterday the situation was totally different from that of six months ago when suddenly a downpour of torrential rainfall started to cause some disruption to the Islands Monday routine.

As the rain continued into the early afternoon the sudden rainfall began causing some flash flooding along the streets of Jamestown. As the overflow of water gushed mud and debris into Napoleon and Main street continuing to the grand parade.

Flooding at the Grand Parade
Flooding at the Grand Parade Jamestown

The street continued flooding as the drainage system became blocked as it was unable to accommodate the flow of water. The flooding caused some considerable disruption and some damage was caused to local businesses as water flowed into some lower ground buildings. The bank of St Helena which is located directly opposite the market place at the bottom of the street was forced to close its doors to the public as a result of over flowing water and staff at the bank could be seen trying to defeat the flow of water as it continued to rain.

Landslides in the sandy bay area and impact to the roads were also reported.

The continuous overnight rain had also caused some small rocks to fall down the Jamestown slops onto both Ladder Hill and side path roads.

Heart Shape Waterfall
Heart Shape Waterfall

Recorded winds around the Island this week has been fairly light and yesterday was no exception but the main affected areas were Sandy bay and Jamestown.

Bottom woods recorded only 3.4 mm of rainfall and Longwood recorded 9 mm in comparison to Jamestown who recorded 26 mm.

It seems that this sort of weather behaviour is not very common as one local resident recalled this happen just over three years ago.

The wharf area was close for a period but has been reopened this afternoon to the public. The clear up has begun, the St Helena Government roads division are busy unblocking drains and clearing the debris from Ladder Hill and side path roads. The Islands water stocks are certainly nearing full capacity as water is once again flowing over the top of the heart shape waterfall and the Islands vegetation is looking very green as the winter sets in.

 

 

 

 

 

Cruise awards 2017 recognises RMS St Helena

RMS St Helena makes the 2017 cruise international awards shortlist.

For over 27 years it has been a memorable adventure for most tourist class passengers who have stepped on board the RMS St Helena and made a journey of a lifetime to our Island.

The RMS has been memorable for most who have travelled on her over the years, and over the next few months it will be no different if you are lucky enough to travel on this unique ship for the very last time.

Cruise international has once again recognised the RMS and St Helena for the second time running in two separate categories for both the ship and the unique St Helena destination that has been shortlisted with in the cruise and best adventure category for the cruise international awards 2017.

Cruise international is a UK independent cruise holiday planner and travel guide which offers information, advertising for the travel industry and the holiday enthusiast.

The magazine and website has a large subscription and attracts readers from around the world.

This might be the last time for the RMS to be featured and recognise on the large stage as she is due to go out of service in the coming months.

Everyone involved should be proud of this recognition and is encouraged to vote for what could be the last time the RMS is mentioned as an ultimate cruise experience to St Helena.

Voting closes on the 18th August 2017 and the voting link can be found here.

http://awards.cruise-international.com/vote-now/

The process to vote is fairly easy

Remember to scroll down to the best adventure category and select RMS St Helena as an option.

Remember to scroll to the best destination under the cruise experience category and select St Helena from the drop down.

Incidentally in the next two weeks a 58-minute documentary “The last farewell” featuring the RMS St Helena will be released for sale. This documentary directed by Tony Leo and produced by TL Productions features life on board the RMS and it also features the last north bound Uk voyage to London. The film details are available here http://www.sthelenalocal.com/rms-st-helena-film-release-the-last-farewell-voyage/

SA Airlink_logo

St Helena air service coming soon

The official announcement was delivered today. “That SA Air link are the chosen bidders to provide commercial air services to St Helena”
The long awaited press release from the St Helena Government announcing the successful bidder was somewhat brief and sort of an anticlimax; As it was always apparent who was going to be the preferred bidder after Atlantic Airlines and Cello Aviation was told that they weren’t going to be invited to continue through to the second phase of the tender process. The confirmation came really when SA Air link were chartered to airlift home the stranded passengers from South Africa last month. For this the SA Air link used an identical aircraft the Avero RJ Aircraft that Atlantic Star Airlines used when they landed on St Helena last year.

SHG Air service press release
SHG Air service press release

However, generally the community are now asking when will flights commence but again Government is asking the public to be patient. For most of us patience is wearing thin and there is a feeling in the community that indicates most are seeking alternative means of access. For some they have already taken the decision to don’t travel to and from St Helena at all. Let’s hope that Atlantic Airlines and other providers are not perturbed by disappointment and will soldier on to continue to offer St Helena the alternative service especially for the UK and Ascension links.
The community is greatly aware that Atlantic Star who also submitted a comprehensive bid to offer air services that was designed to grow the travel needs of St Helena, included options to employ saints.

How long will it take the St Helena Government to negotiate the final part of the tender with SA air link. Your guess is as good as mine as the announcement didn’t explicitly say this but more on the lines like how long is a piece of string.
Details of the connecting hub and flight schedules and commencement date is also up in the air so it seems as this we are told also forms part on the ongoing contractual negotiations.
The preferred connecting hub for most saints are Cape Town International in South Africa, this will enable familiar onward travel for most. The original decision however to use Johannesburg as a hub could still be a possibility.
The concerns about Saints living on Ascension and the Falkland Islands remains a big unresolved issue. The possibility of air travel via Ascension to connect with St Helena air travel could be highly unlikely if Ascension Island wide-awake airfield remains closed to commercial aircraft due to ongoing safety concerns with the runway. Though it is generally known that Ascension will remain the alternative airport for St Helena in case of emergency.

So what do we know about SA Airlink.

  • SA Airlink is a South African domestic and regional carrier and it is privately owned and mainly based in Johannesburg.
  • Airlink was formed in 1978 and forms is part of a feeder for SA Airlines some of the aircraft owned by the company are Avero RJ85s, Embraers and BAE Jet streams.
  • Like most airlines airlink have suffered a few incidents and accidents over the years some of which occurred in September 2009, December 2009, defence web in South Africa reported that SA Air link had four incidents in three months.
  • SA Airlink is a member of IATA (International Air Transport Association)
  • SA Airlink have flown to St Helena only a few months ago to bring home stranded passengers when the RMS St Helena experienced mechanical issues.

Do you have any experience of SA Airlink?

What are your thoughts of St Helena’s new Air service?

Are you looking forward to flying to St Helena with SA Airlink?

RMS St Helena

The Last Farewell of The RMS St Helena one year ago

On 22nd May 2016 exactly one year ago today the RMS St Helena weigh anchor and set sailed from St Helena to the UK on her last north bound UK voyage.

On completion of this voyage The RMS was scheduled to be weeks away from ending her service to St Helena and the South Atlantic Islands after 26 years.

An amateur video production of the 58 minute documentary film “The last Farewell” captures that voyage and life on board the RMS as a tribute to the mail ship, her crew and the people of St Helena.

Here is a sneak preview of the film that will be available in the next few weeks both on St Helena and online.

This film was produced by TL Production St Helena

Please feel free to share and tag anyone that appears in this film.