South Africa’s Airlink operated St Helena’s first commercial airline service on 3 May, when Avro RJ85 ZS-SSH (msn E2285) flew from Cape Town to the Atlantic island. The flight was a charter organized by the St Helena government to cover for repairs to the ship that normally connects the Island to South Africa. The flight, SA8878, departed Cape Town at 08:20L with 60 passengers on board and made a refueling stop in Namibe, Angola, before proceeding over the South Atlantic. She landed on the new St Helena Airport’s runway 20 at 13:55L. She then departed back to South Africa as SA8879 an hour later, carrying 48 passengers. After a refueling stop in Windhoek, Namibia, she arrived back in Cape Town at 23:36L. The St Helena government has issued a request for proposals for the provision of scheduled passenger services to the island; the preferred bidder should be announced shortly. An earlier tender had resulted in a contract to South Africa’s Comair to operate a Boeing 737-800 from Johannesburg, but this was cancelled after severe windshear was experienced on approach to the airport’s runway 20. Start-up Atlantic Star Airlines arranged a test flight to St Helena by a Tronos RJ100 in October 2016, and Embraer later operated a similar test flight with an Embraer 190 in December.
Recent news items on Airlink:
- Airlink to merge with Safair (2017-11-27)
- Airlink Avro RJ85 suffers uncontained engine failure (2017-11-09)
- Airlink puts Embraer 190 into service (2017-08-04)
- Atlantic Star bid for St Helena service rejected (2017-05-04)
- Airlink to replaces its Avro RJ85s with Embraer E-Jets (2017-01-19)