Airlink flights from between South Africa and the remote island of St Helena resume on Saturday, following a two-year disconnection due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world. Until the construction of the island’s airport in 2016, the only way to access St Helena was via ship on a five-day journey from Cape Town.
Airlink started flying passengers directly from Johannesburg to Jamestown in St Helena shortly after the airport’s completion.
But regular services ground to a halt at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, and one of the world’s most remote islands, roughly 2,000 kilometres west of south-western Africa, became even more isolated.
Due to its isolation and limited connections to the outside world – with only limited charter flights available through Titan Airways – the pandemic never truly made its way to St Helena. The island has never recorded a case of community transmission, and 97% of the eligible population has been vaccinated.
After a two-year absence, Airlink resumes flights from South Africa to St Helena on Saturday. The airline will operate fortnightly flights between Johannesburg and St Helena and a monthly inter-island service with Ascension Island.
But travellers on these first flights, whether fully vaccinated or not, need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in St Helena. Quarantine can be carried out at any accommodation approved by local authorities or at a government-run facility.
These strict regulations will stay in place until at least the end of March, according to the government of St Helena. No updated measures have yet been decided beyond 31 March.
The first Airlink flight from Johannesburg to Jamestown starts at R11,296.75, which includes a technical stop in Walvis Bay. The second flight, on 9 April, is more affordable, starting at R8,644.40. The six-hour route will be serviced by Airlink’s Embraer 190.