Travel Notice Updated: 10 April 2021

Scheduled flights to St Helena have been suspended since 21 March 2020, a result of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. A series of charter flights from the UK have been organised since, as well as medevac flights to South Africa. The situation remains the same at this time (April 2021) with no news yet of when the scheduled service is likely to restart.


Flights to St Helena Island from South Africa take place once a week, on Saturdays, flying from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg to St Helena Airport.

An additional mid-week Tuesday flight allowed people to fly to St Helena between 4 December, 2018 and 23 April, 2019. This extra Tuesday flight, in response to seasonal demand, will be included again from December 2019 to March 2020.

South African airline, SA Airlink, operates the service with the Brazilian made, Embraer E190 aircraft, capable of carrying 98 passengers.


Flights To St Helena | by Darrin Henry

Information in this post:


Cost of Flights to St Helena

Prices for return flights to St Helena Island from South Africa were first announced on 30 August, 2017, as part of the St Helena Government (SHG) Executive Council’s report.

In the report the Council “considered the Airlink fares” which ranged from £804 – £1,544 for a (Johannesburg) return flight, or £846 – £1,586 (Cape Town), which included a refuelling stop in Windhoek, Namibia.

The scheduled air service launched on Saturday 14 October, 2017.

Dropping The Original Cape Town Flight

The Cape Town option was suspended soon after the air service began, when Namibia denied SA Airlink the Fifth Freedom Rights required for passengers to change aircraft in Windhoek.

Flying From Johannesburg

OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg is therefore the only connecting hub for flights to St Helena Airport.

Ticket prices in October 2017, as announced by ExCo, SHG, (see above) ranged from £804 – £1,544 for a Johannesburg return. This breaks down further as:

Business Class     £1,544

Upper Economy  £1,244

Lower Economy   £  804

Note: all prices above quoted in British pounds sterling.

It should be noted actual fares will vary depending on the booking agent or online quote source, as is normal for air travel elsewhere.

We have found some of the best prices for flights to St Helena by searching on Expedia.

Back to Top


Refuelling Stop in Namibia Changed to Walvis Bay

The flight from Johannesburg to St Helena, does a technical stop in Namibia, otherwise known as a refuelling stop.

The return flight from St Helena to Johannesburg is non-stop, it does not refuel in Namibia on the way back.

Windhoek, Namibia, was the refuelling stop since the air service began, but from March 2019 the technical refuelling stop switched to Walvis Bay, Namibia. Click Here for official SA Airlink press release.

Departure/arrival times for passengers remains that same in both Johannesburg and St Helena.

Passengers cannot begin or end their journey during the refuelling stop. See Cost Of Flights above.

Back to Top


Flight Times to HLE Airport

Departures/arrivals as announced – note all times are Universal Time Clock (UTC):

The St Helena Airport code is, HLE. There is only one scheduled flight a week to St Helena Island Airport from Johannesburg, this takes place on Saturdays.


Johannesburg (JNB) to Walvis Bay (WVB): 07:00-09:00

Walvis Bay (WVB) to St Helena (HLE):        09:45 – 13:15

Return leg:

St Helena (HLE) to Johannesburg (JNB):     14:30 – 20:55

Back to Top


Flights to Ascension Island from St Helena

On the second Saturday of each month the schedule changes slightly to accommodate Ascension Island flights, with the return leg taking place on the Sunday:

Note, all times are Universal Time Clock (UTC).


Saturday (second Saturday of the month only)

Johannesburg (JNB) to Walvis Bay (WVB): 07:00-09:00

Walvis Bay (WVB) to St Helena (HLE):        09:45 – 13:15

St Helena (HLE) to Ascension (ASI): 14:30 – 16:30

The aircraft will stay overnight at the Ascension Island airport before returning the next day.

Return leg:


Ascension (ASI) to St Helena (HLE): 11:15 – 13:15

St Helena (HLE) to Johannesburg (JNB): 14:30 – 20:55

Back to Top


WTSDN online shopping - St Helena souvenirs

Additional Flights: 4 Dec 2018 – 23 April 2019

In response to seasonal demand, an additional 19 flights to St Helena Island took place between 4 December, 2018 and 23 April, 2019. This meant two flights a week during those months.

The additional flights operated on Tuesdays.

The normal Saturday schedule was unaffected.

Additional Flights: Dec 2019 – March 2020 (includes Cape Town)

St Helena Airport update – The extra mid-week flights have been arranged again between 3 December, 2019 and 31 March, 2020. Booking systems are now loaded with these new dates.

(Note the extension runs to March, not May 2020 as originally advertised.)

The Cape Town Dates

The additional flights will once again take place on Tuesdays, but with a significant change to originating airport.

From 3 December, 2019 – 11 February, 2020, inclusive, the Tuesday mid-week flight only will operate from Cape Town International Airport. (Saturday flights will continue to operate from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.)

On 18 February, 2020, through to 31 March, 2020, the mid-week flight reverts to operating from OR Tambo International Airport.

Two Extra Ascension Island Flights

Additional flights to Ascension Island have also been scheduled, one in December 2019 and one in January 2020.

Back to Top


Baggage Allowance

Economy class, 20kg checked (or hold baggage) plus 1 carry-on piece and slimline laptop bag, each up to 8kg.

Business class, 30kg checked plus 2 carry-on pieces and a slimline laptop bag, each up to 8kg.

Back to Top


HLE Airport welcomes the SA Airlink proving flight on 21 August, 2017.

Ticket Prices for Flights to St Helena have been announced after SA Airlink completed a successful proving flight to the island on 21 August, 2017 (pictured) with an Embraer E190. This aircraft type will be used to fly to St Helena by SA Airlink. Photo by Nick Stevens

The SA Airlink Embraer E190 aircraft is used for the St Helena air service. It flies from Johannesburg, refuelling at Windhoek, Namibia. The return flight to Johannesburg is non-stop.

The SA Airlink Embraer E190 aircraft is used for the St Helena air service. It flies from Johannesburg, refuelling at Windhoek, Namibia. The return flight to Johannesburg is non-stop.


How to Purchase St Helena Flight Tickets

Booking from Rest of the World

Tickets are available online via the Airlink website and through normal IATA global distribution systems.

We have found some of the best prices for flights to St Helena by searching on Expedia.

Booking on St Helena Island

For passengers living in St Helena, ticket bookings can be made via Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc’s Shipping & Travel Agency at the Malabar in Jamestown.  Passengers/customers can visit the Shipping & Travel Agency in person or can contact or telephone +(290) 22523.

Booking on Ascension Island

Bookings can only be made with the Ascension Island Travel Agency. Contact them via email: or tel: +247 66500.

Back to Top


98 Passengers, Embraer E190 Full Capacity

Although the aircraft, the Embraer E190, has capacity for 98 passengers, at the start of the air service in October 2017, flights initially limited maximum passenger numbers to 76, made up of 70 Economy and 6 Business Class seats. The reduced numbers gave pilots the option of a tailwind landing at St Helena if weather conditions were problematic.

Capacity was increased at some point over the first 18 months of operations, to 87 passengers.

From 7 April, 2019, the flight will be able to operate at full capacity of 98 passengers, which includes 6 business class seats. This has been made possible by the change of technical refuelling stop airport in Namibia, from Windhoek (5600ft above sea level) to Walvis Bay at 300ft.

Note: We have confirmed with Airlink that 98 is the max passenger capacity of the Embraer E190 flying to St Helena (March 2019). Other E190s flying other routes by other airlines might be configured differently.

Click Here for the official press release from SA Airlink.

Back to Top


St Helena Airport Wind Shear

The St Helena Airport wind shear made world headlines in April 2016 after the first commercial jet plane to fly there, a British Airways Boeing 737-800 operated by Comair, struggled to land on its maiden test flight.

There were to be no more Comair flights to St Helena. The airport opening was delayed for a year and a half while experts tried to come up with a solution.

In December, 2016, Brazilian aviation company, Embraer, demonstrated the superior handling of their E190 aircraft in the airport’s strong wind conditions.

South African airline, SA Airlink then won the bid for a new air service contract, using their newly acquired Embraer E190s. As mentioned earlier, St Helena’s first scheduled air service then started on 14 October, 2017.

St Helena’s Airport is designated a Category C Airport, which means specialist, Category C certified pilots are required to fly the scheduled service.

Back to Top


Weather Delays & Flight Cancellations

In the first full year of St Helena’s airport operations, SHG reported 14 of the 104 scheduled flights had experienced “delays due to unfavourable weather.” This refers to occasions when flights were postponed or delayed by a day or longer. Every postponement has involved the flight remaining in Johannesburg due to weather conditions in St Helena making a landing unsafe.

There were one, two, three, five and even a nine-day delay within the first year of operation.

Moving into the second year of operations, a six-day delay which occurred on 17-23 November, 2018, when the island was battered by high winds, shows disruptions are not restricted to the traditional wet, winter months. On 5 March, 2019 low cloud cover over St Helena forced a mid-week flight to turn back to South Africa and a subsequent four-day delay.

Don’t Get Caught Out – Do Your Research

The delays have been a major topic of conversation across the island and on social media, as they affect everyone pretty much. If not directly as passengers, then via the impact on family and friends and on-island businesses.

The editor of the St Helena Independent, Vince Thompson, was one of those affected by the six-day delay in November 2018.  Click here to read his report in the Independent of the experience.

For anyone planning a trip to St Helena it is worth bearing in mind that delays could happen at any time and to be prepared. Click Here to read the SA Airlink advice regarding weather delays.

Back to Top


Flying on the SA Airlink Embraer and Landing at St Helena

Although we’ve not yet flown on the St Helena air service, we’ve yet to meet anyone who reports anything other than the actual flight being an enjoyable experience.

Everyone it seems is impressed by the crew on board and the comfortable aircraft and flight.

The other big question for anyone disembarking at St Helena is, “how was the landing?

Of course, this stems from the wind shear issue identified in 2016. But again, no drama – it seems as though landing at St Helena has been no different than anywhere else, with many people reporting this stage of their journey being the smoothest.

Back to Top


Tracking the Flight In Real Time

A useful, free online tool for tracking the flights to St Helena Island, both in and out, is the flight radar website.

Enter the flight number in the search box to view the aircraft’s position and progress.

Flight Numbers

The flight numbers are SA8131 outbound, ie leaving Johannesburg, and SA8132 inbound, ie returning to Jo’burg.

Keep in mind the information is not displayed until the flight is active, ie having taken off.

Back to Top


Atlantic Star Airlines Update

Atlantic Star Airlines led by Captain Richard Brown, are well-known on the island after their test flight to St Helena in October 2016 and hopes of introducing a direct service from the UK.

At the end of December 2018, Richard supplied an update on Atlantic Star Airlines.

“Our situation is that we continue to watch the market and developments on the island carefully, but we don’t see UK originating charter flights as an investable proposition in the current climate,” said Richard.

We are in contact with a number of tourism stakeholders and are convinced that the long term future for St Helena has to have a London link.

When we are ready to make a move we will do so, but it won’t be in 2019.

Back to Top


More St Helena Airport news

For the latest St Helena Airport News please visit the St Helena Airport website.

Back to Top


Ticket Prices for Flights to St Helena

Ticket Price for Flights to St Helena – The travel times will change dramatically, but it will still be the local people who will set the pace for life on St Helena. Meet the Saints, the people of St Helena.


Planning Your Time On St Helena

We hope this information has been useful. If you are travelling to St Helena anytime soon you may be interested in ideas for how to make the most of your visit.

Inside St Helena

You can download the brand new (2019) FREE App, Inside St Helena, straight to your phone, which puts details for tour operators, restaurants and hotels right at your fingertips. The App allows users to contact tourist service providers directly by phone, email and websites. Go to Google Play and search for Inside St Helena, or click the link.


Get INSIDE ST HELENA on Google Play


Click Here for our blog post list of things to do on St Helena.


Back to Top