History was made on St Helena last week when a charter plane carrying 60 passengers landed at St Helena Airport.
South African carrier SA Airlink was contracted to carry out the charter flight by Air Partner, a commercial organisation that sources charter flights around the world, to transport passengers from Cape Town affected by the cancellation of RMS St Helena voyages 255 and 256.
Among the 60 passengers on board the British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85 aircraft were HE Governor Lisa Phillips and a young St Helenian baby born in Cape Town.
Crowds of family members, friends and Island residents gathered at the Airport to witness the arrival at 1.55pm on 3 May.
The aircraft approached St Helena Airport from the north before smoothly touching down on Runway 20. Passengers disembarking the aircraft were met by a packed Arrivals Hall, all eager to welcome everyone to St Helena.
Dr Niall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive for Economic Development, Enterprise St Helena, who flew in on the Avro jet said:
“It was a wonderful experience flying to one of the most remote islands in the world with many who had never even been on a plane before, it was a day I will always remember. From a practical perspective it was an incredibly smooth and comfortable journey, which cut our travel time from Cape Town down from six days to seven hours.”
Following a quick turnaround, the aircraft departed at 3.20pm with 48 passengers on board, including Director of Tourism, Chris Pickard, bound for Cape Town via Windhoek in South Africa.
“The flight from St Helena to Cape Town was very smooth,” said Chris. “It was as if we had been flying the route for years, and this is exactly how we want it to be as we prepare for scheduled air services later this year.”
The RMS St Helena is now back in service and is scheduled to run until February 2018. For the most up to date information on St Helena Airport visit the St Helena Government newsroom.