2 July 2020
On 1 June 2020 South Africa relaxed their lockdown restrictions to level 3 which allows for restricted domestic flights (within South Africa). Scheduled international flights are not expected to be permitted to resume until the country moves to at least level 1. It is not currently known when South Africa will move to level 1 but this is not expected within the next three months. Globally many other states still have travel bans and restrictions in place.
Based on those registering interest with the St Helena Tourist Office, St Helena Government (SHG) has identified the need for a second repatriation charter flight to the UK or Europe. Planning for this flight is in progress with a target to operate within the next eight weeks.
Availability of both inbound and outbound seats on this flight will be assigned on a priority basis as per the previous repatriation flights. The passenger capacity of this flight is not yet known and will be dependent on the aircraft and route chosen. The number of passengers arriving to St Helena will also be limited by the capacity at Bradley’s Camp for the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Below are common questions received and answers provided on future travel arrangements to and from St Helena:
Who can travel on the repatriation flight?
Travel requests will be prioritised against essential travel criteria (for example, persons needing to return to their country of normal residence or persons needing to travel on medical grounds).
I am normally resident on St Helena, can I travel off-Island for leave/temporary break?
It is likely that those wishing to depart St Helena on a temporary basis for non-essential purposes will not be given high priority for seat allocation.
Those considering travelling must take into consideration that quarantine measures remain mandatory in some countries. In addition, it is not known when another flight will be operated to and from St Helena to enable return to the Island. Finally, in order to comply with the current legislation, upon return all persons arriving to St Helena will be subject to 14 days quarantine at Bradley’s Camp.
Who is the point of contact for registering interest to travel to and from St Helena Island?
All persons interested in returning to or leaving St Helena should register their name with the Tourist
Office by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +(290) 22158.
You will be asked to provide your full name, address, date of birth, nationality, passport details, contact details, the country you wish to travel to, and reason for travel.
If you are travelling as part of a group, please provide these details for each person in the group. You should also identify which member of the group will serve as the point of contact.
Once registered on the list, persons will be kept updated via the contact details provided.
It is important that the Tourist Office is advised of any change in status or requirements.
The Tourist Office is not able to engage with airlines, insurance companies or booking agents on behalf of persons wishing to travel.
What is the cost of a ticket on the repatriation charter flight?
Until the details of the flight are finalised the cost of a ticket cannot be determined. Once information on ticket cost is available it will be released to those who have registered with the Tourist Office.
Is there a cost for quarantine on St Helena for incoming passengers? If so, what is the cost?
Persons may be required to contribute towards the cost of their stay in quarantine. Fees and charges will be published by SHG as they become available.
How many people have expressed an interest to travel?
Work continues to collate a list of travel requests. Requests received are for both travel inbound and outbound with a number of different origins and destinations, all of which may not be catered for with one flight route.
Who makes the decision on who is prioritised to have a seat on the repatriation flight?
The criteria used for prioritisation will be agreed by a working group including at least one Elected Member.
Once the prioritisation exercise is complete, all persons who have registered with the Tourist Office will be contacted to advise them of the outcome.
If I am offered a seat on the repatriation charter flight what can I expect?
A flight information pack will be issued prior to the travel date to those offered seats. This will detail the payment process, what to expect at the outbound and inbound airport, what to expect on the aircraft and quarantine arrangements.
What are the options if I am not offered a seat on the repatriation charter flight?
Following the prioritisation exercise, persons who are not offered a seat on the flight will have the option of remaining on the list in order to be kept updated should further travel options become available.
I am not normally resident on St Helena and the repatriation flight is still some weeks away. What should I do?
If you have not already done so, please contact the St Helena Immigration Office who will, if necessary, facilitate an extension to your St Helena entry visa. The Immigration Office can be contacted on tel: 22626.
If you have concerns about your ongoing stay on St Helena, you should also contact your embassy in London and insurance provider as appropriate.
Am I able to travel to and from St Helena via Ascension Island from the UK or Falkland Islands?
The only option of travel to and from Ascension Island from the UK or the Falkland Islands is via the Ministry of Defence (MoD) flights. Special permissions are required for civilians to travel on these flights and such requests must be supported by SHG and the FCO.
Travel between Ascension and St Helena is possible on the MV Helena which visits Ascension four times per year.
Travel to Ascension by yacht or other private vessel is also possible. The Ascension Island Government (AIG) should be contacted for entry and quarantine requirements.
Is it possible to travel by sea to and from South Africa?
The MV Helena travels from South Africa to St Helena and returns approximately every six weeks and from St Helena to Ascension Island and returns approximately four times per year. The MV Helena is primarily a cargo vessel with only one passenger cabin available consisting of four berths and is available for passengers to book either as a whole or sharing. Passage to and from South Africa is currently possible but restrictions apply.
For further information on the MV Helena schedule and booking requirements please see: http://sthelenashipping.com/
Will there be repatriation charter flights from and to South Africa?
Based on those who have registered interest with the Tourist Office, the need for a repatriation charter flight to the UK or Europe has been identified. There is not currently a requirement to operate a repatriation flight originating in South Africa. Persons needing to travel between South Africa and St Helena can take advantage of the limited passenger berths aboard the MV Helena.
Is CAN France organising a charter flight to repatriate their employees? Is it possible to obtain a seat on this flight?
As per a recent Public Announcement, CAN France is not planning to organise their own charter flight to repatriate employees.
Are further repatriation charter flights being planned?
Planning for the next repatriation charter flight is in progress with a target to operate within the next eight weeks. Beyond this, there are no plans to organise further repatriation charter flights at this time.
When will the Airlink normal scheduled service between South Africa, St Helena and Ascension resume?
South African authorities are not permitting scheduled international flights to resume until the country moves to at least lockdown level 1. It is not currently known when South Africa will move to level 1 but this is not expected within the next three months. Therefore Airlink are only permitted to operate limited domestic (within South Africa) flights at present.
Airlink will not be permitted to operate scheduled international flights to and from St Helena Island until South Africa moves to level 1.
For general enquiries and more information, please contact Airlink Customer Care via email@example.com or call +27 11 451 7300.
I have booked flights with Airlink and my travel date is fast approaching. Should I cancel my plans?
Airlink will not be permitted to operate scheduled international flights to and from St Helena Island until South Africa moves to level 1. It is not currently known when South Africa will move to level 1 but this is not expected within the next three months.
As the date of your flight approaches, should there be a need to cancel this flight, Airlink will contact you via the information you provided in your booking. Alternatively, information is available via: www.flyairlink.com
For general enquiries and more information, please visit: https://www.flyairlink.com/important-info/covid-memo or contact Airlink Customer Care via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 11 451 7300.
What should I expect on the Airlink flight? Will I have to wear a mask?
The current guidance from Airlink is available at: https://www.flyairlink.com/covid-19-travel-updates#healthandsafetyproto Please note that the situation is evolving and changes can be expected. Passengers should therefore familiarise themselves with the procedures nearer to the date of their planned travel.
I am planning on travelling to St Helena towards the end of 2020. Will the quarantine arrangements still be in place?
This is being kept under constant review and updates will follow. Measures will only be relaxed following risk-based assessments.
At present any foreign national is allowed to enter St Helena, subject to the established immigration rules, quarantine regulations and testing requirements. The current 14-day quarantine arrangements at Bradley’s Camp remain the same for air arrivals for the time being.
Going forward, will there be regular direct flights between the UK and St Helena?
A charter flight was operated between the UK and St Helena Island in April 2020 as part of the Island’s Covid-19 preparedness response. The primary purpose of this flight was to bring essential freight and personnel to St Helena. The next flight is primarily for repatriation purposes.
There are many factors to consider with operating a direct flight between the UK and St Helena; these include regulatory, technical, economic and political.
St Helena Airport remains open to new private commercial operations should they meet all the required technical and regulatory approvals.
Will there be an opportunity for personal freight to be carried on the repatriation charter flight?
We cannot answer this question until the flight details are confirmed. If there is a possibility of private freight to be carried this will be communicated in future updates.
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2 July 2020