Tag: flying

Air Partner to bring home passengers affected by RMS voyage cancellation.

It has been announced by SHG that an Air partner chartered RJ85 Aircraft will arrive at St Helena’s Airport from Cape Town with some of the affected RMS passengers onboard as early as Wednesday 03rdMay 2017.

The affected passengers spent weeks of frustration sitting in Capetown whilst SHG and DFID negotiated and agreed to put on a flight to bring the passengers home.  This solution was talked about earlier but have only just recently became a reality.

As many will recall Andrew weir shipping notified the Island on the 16th April 2017, that the RMS St Helena had developed a further fault with its starboard propeller only hours after it had left drydock in Simons Town. It was reported that RMS develop the very same problem it went into drydock to have fixed in the first place.

Whilst docked in Capetown it was also discovered that water was leaking through the new shaft seals that was fitted. This now meant the RMS St Helena would have to return to drydock to rectify the faults and as a consequence the forthcoming scheduled voyages to St Helena had to be cancelled. Some tourist passengers was forced to returned home.

RJ

 

A decision was taken to unloaded both passengers and cargo in preparation for its return back to Simons town drydock. Cargo was then loaded onto the MV Helena. The MV Helena is the replacement vessel for the RMS St Helena when she finally goes off line but had to be brought quickly into service to bring the awaited cargoes to St Helena.  The RMS St Helena will continue during the transition period from sea to air and will be taken out of service when the air service is fully implemented.

After much discussions most passengers were accommodated with family and friend and other went into Hotels and Guest houses around Capetown. Most if not all transit and tourist class passengers, returned back to their home countries because there was no clarity on timeline or a contingency plan in place to move the affected passengers to St Helena.

Up to ten passengers were offered a voyage to St Helena on the survey research vessel Ocean Observer which incidentally was departing Cape town the same week. The Ocean Observer and was on route to Puerto Rico but was happy to divert via St Helena to drop off passengers. It was first thought that the Ocean Observer could accommodate more than ten passengers on this journey, however, the UK MCSA did not give approval for this to happen. This meant that the majority of passengers were to remain in Cape town until the Government found a solution.

Whist the passengers sat in Capetown and with no worthwhile news nor clarity coming from AW shipping managers, SHG and DFID many rumours circulated through the social media platform. Most  social media post complained about the lack of communication from the official authorities back in London and in St Helena. During this news outage over the Easter period, the community radio station Saint Fm worked tirelessly to keep everyone up to speed with the events as they unfolded.

During this time, another situation had unfolded on Ascension Island. The Ascension Island Airfield operators had announced that they were cancelling all commercial and South Atlantic Airbridge flights for the foreseeable future. There were safety concerns about the state of its Airfield, this meant that people travelling to and from the Falkland Island and also the UK would not be able to make the journey to Ascension Island to connect with the RMS St Helena in Ascension.

With all of this now causing even further impact on the St Helena travel situation it began to look even more difficult to overcome.

Finally the St Helena Government announced that their Air partner has teamed up with SA Air-link and has a contractual agreement to fly the affected passengers to St Helena via Namibe on Wednesday 03rdMay 2017.

Two of the affected passengers Tracy and Chad Corker who were stuck in Cape town are booked onto the flight from Cape town, Tracy said apart from been totally frustrated with the communication issues during this whole process, she is looking forward to arriving home in style by air and she has decided to purchase a new outfit for the arrival day. Tracy owns and operates one of the oldest and most successful establish tour services (Corkers Tourist Services) on the Island.

The Islands Governor Lisa Phillips was also due to return back to the Island on this flight.

The Air Partner and SA Air link flight will also be offering priority booking seats on the return flight  from St Helena to Capetown for  those passengers that were affected by the delay of the RMS. St Helena Government and local media on St Helena will be updating every one with more details as soon as they become available.

RMS St Helena in Drydock

Passengers who were connecting with the RMS voyage 256 via Ascension were  offered a passage to the Island on RMS voyage 257 which leaving Capetown on or about 04th may 2017. Some of the passengers with onward travel arrangements have already flown to Cape town this weekend. Some affected medivacs and St Helena Government employees are due to fly on a BA flight departing PM from London Heathrow Airport on Wednesday 03rd May 2017. These passengers will be transferred to the RMS directly on arrival in cape town.

Discussion are ongoing to re-route passengers via Cape town who are affected by the Ascension Island connection on voyage 257 on the 13th May 2017. This would however mean a six weeks duration would be required for this journey and that for most people another disappointment as they would not be able to get that amount of leave and will be forced to cancel their trip.

Speaking with a family who had planned this journey for some years (via Ascension) to visit there 86-year-old granny and great granny is devastated as they are finding it difficult to change their travel arrangements at such short notice.

Breaking news

The RMS was due to depart Simons Town drydock today 02 May for sea trials, this however didn’t happen and the RMS is still in Simons Town. It is hope that news of the delay will be forthcoming .

Atlantic Star Airlines remains committed to St Helena despite wind shear warnings.

Last week’s rumours around town and on social media about Atlantic Star Airlines flying an aircraft to St Helena have come to fruition and the flight is now scheduled to arrive next week.

The Aircraft used by Atlantic Star is an Avro RJ100. The Journey will begin at Zurich in Switzerland then on to West Africa calling at Ascension Island for refuelling before the journey continues to St Helena.

This Aircraft which is owned by TronosJet, an Aircraft maintenance organisation based in Canada.

Tronosjet is well known in the aviation business and owns over 20 AVRO RJ/BAE 146 family aircraft and specializes in the aircraft maintenance and aircraft leasing.

The Avro RJ will be flown by specialist experienced pilots. Two Directors from Atlantic Star Airlines, along with other aviation specialists will also be on board.

Atlantic Star Airlines who have been committed to offering an Air Service to St Helena were schedule to make their first long haul journey from London to St Helena in May 2016 chartering a Boeing aircraft but was unable to deliver due to the airport not being commissioned for commercial operations.

Atlantic Star Airlines has always been committed to help find a solution to air access for St Helena.

The visit to the Island on this occasion is a non-commercial technical visit for Atlantic Star and TronosJet.

The crew will stay overnight on St Helena, accommodation and catering has been arranged to accommodate the visit before departing for South America.

The four engine turbo fan AVRO RJ100 ticks many boxes as a potential aircraft that could offer a service to the Island from Ascension and Cape Town to suit the constraints of the Islands airport.

The Aircraft type is owned by many civil organisations and private owners all over the world including RAF Queens Flight, AirFrance CityJet and Brussels Airlines and is renowned for its landing and take-off performance in identical runway lengths and conditions similar to St Helena.

Details of the exact accurate arrival times are not available yet however, it is hope that this along with other information will be released soon as the itinerary planning is completed. Captain Richard Brown from Atlantic Star is keen to meet with as many people on St Helena during his short stay, He is hoping to arrange a question and answer session in The Consulate Hotel on the evening of his arrival.

Visiting St Helena by air is possible with no limits Travel and Tours

Have you ever thought that getting to and from St Helena via the St Helena’s newly built Airport as a tourist was impossible by air, then it is not, if you talk to No limits Travel and Tours.  St Helena has spent many long hours marketing the Island as a tourist destination in readiness for the Airport opening and the Islands transition from sea to air travel, however due to the safety concerns, the Airport is not open for commercial operations and the forecast of regular visitors has not been possible, however yesterday St Helena welcomed the Maselis family from Belgium, who arrived on a private jet and was the first official tourist to land on the Island by air.

Maselis tourist visit
Maselis family flying visit to St Helena

No Limits Travel and Tours under the companies branding Island images were asked months ago to facilitate the entire visit to the Island.  Yesterday that visit was a reality for the home grown motivated Travel and Tour company, today it was successful Island history as the Patrick Maselis and his family departed St Helena after twenty fours on Island. Here is summary of the visit as Island Images summarises the experience of the visit on their news page on their website which can found here.

Derek said this afternoon in a telephone conversation this is hopefully one of many visits and hinted that he will soon be looking out from the observation deck at the airport for another potential client to arrive.

St Helena Airport officially certified but you cannot fly here just yet.

Air Safety Support International (ASSI) has officially issued the aerodrome certificate for the St Helena

Z9-UCT at St Helena Airport
Z9-UCT at St Helena Airport

Airport. (HLE) Although the St Helena Airport is now officially certified there are still ongoing parallel tasks that requires completion before flights can commercially operate here. ASSI is satisfied with the entire airport infrastructure, aviation security measures and air traffic control service as it complies with international aviation safety and security standards.  As part of a parallel process to the ASSI certification a priority task is underway to implement a process to manage turbulence and wind shear at the airport approach that was identified during the implementation flight. Its essential that this task is completed to ensure the safety of commercial operations as safety is the number one priority for all airports. The Airport certification is valid until the 9th of November 2016 and will require a review for recertification before that date in order to continue ongoing operations. Achieving certification is a milestone for any Airport, especially one that was newly built from the ground up and especially in this geographical location.