22 February 2023
SHG is pleased to announce that mid-week flights between Johannesburg and St Helena will be available for peak season 2023/24.
In addition to the regular scheduled weekly flight that operates on a Saturday from Johannesburg, a second weekly flight originating in Johannesburg will operate to St Helena during the period 28 November 2023 to the end of February 2024. These flights will take place on a Tuesday. This will result in a further 13 return flights available to travellers in addition to the weekly flight.
A mid-week flight was added to the base weekly service on two occasions pre-pandemic. As with these flights, on both previous occasions these were scheduled during the months where demand for travel to the Island is at its highest.
Mid-week flights not only deliver more capacity for passengers to travel to the Island, but also provide greater options and certainty to visitors, tour operators, the local private sector and the travelling public. Most notably, the increases to both passenger capacity and flight frequency mean that prospective travellers have more certainty that seats will be available at their preferred times of travel, whilst offering them more flexibility around travel dates and lengths of stays.
On the two previous occasions, mid-week flights operated from Cape Town rather than Johannesburg. As announced in November 2022, work is underway between Airlink and the South African Civil Aviation Authority to obtain the necessary approvals to use Cape Town as a hub for flights during the summer months of November to April, beginning from 2024. Whilst it is disappointing Cape Town cannot be implemented for these mid-week flights, the additional time will provide more opportunity to undertake planning and marketing to ensure that the potential presented by a Cape Town service can be maximised.
On the announcement, Minister for Treasury, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development, Mark Brooks, said:
“This is very welcome news as we look to continue to bounce back from the impact the pandemic has had on our tourism sector. Before COVID-19 tourism was contributing up to £6.7m annually to our economy and was the largest contributor to the economy after financial aid. This news will only be a further boost to this sector, and as a result, the entire Island. Increasing accessibility during the peak season will offer people more opportunity to come to St Helena, and more variety in terms of the length of time they can visit.”
Tickets are available online, via the Airlink website at www.flyairlink.com and through all IATA travel agents.
For those passengers resident on St Helena, ticket bookings can be made via Solomon and Company (St Helena) Plc’s Shipping and Travel Agency at the Malabar in Jamestown. Passengers can visit the Shipping and Travel Agency in person or contact them via email through firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone non 22523.
Notes to Editor:
The relevant period, November to February, is the peak season for tourism to the Island. Pre-pandemic, tourism was the third largest economic contributor behind financial aid, with estimates showing that in 2019 air tourists spent £140 to £190 per day, and travellers visiting family and friends spent £80 to £110 per day.
Historical data shows that demand during this time is higher than can be accommodated by just a single weekly flight, and in December 2022 every flight except one from Johannesburg to St Helena was full. Providing the additional passenger capacity will ensure there are enough seats to meet demand during the same period this year and next.
Doing so will increase capacity for tourists and offer different options for lengths of stay. This in turn will increase access to leading seasonal tourist attractions, create more demand in season for tourism services and create further demand for accommodation, helping accommodation providers maximise occupancies and consequently revenue. All of this is forecast to increase the multiplier effect, ensuring tourism expenditure flows around the economy to the benefit of the Island.
20 February 2023