The first ever scheduled commercial passenger flight to remote Atlantic island Saint Helena has arrived on Saturday, October 14.
It was operated by an SA Airlink Embraer E190-AR for South African Airways under flight number #SA8131 from Johannesburg (JNB) via Windhoek, Namibia (WDH) to Saint Helena Airport. The aircraft touched down at 1:58pm local time – about 45 minutes late.
A total of 78 passengers were on board, consisting of islanders, media reporters and also some tourists.
— Anthony Fitzhenry (@AntFitzhenry) October 14, 2017
This is a very historic time for the island, the air route will reduce travel time between Saint Helena and South Africa from 6 days to just 6 hours! Many islanders gathered at HLE Airport to watch the arrival of the first regular flight.
A local shared this video of the landing on Facebook:
The inaugural flight landing. As you see, all went well.
Publiée par Geoff Cooper sur Samedi 14 octobre 2017
The return flight (#SA8182) will depart from Saint Helena Airport on October 15th at 2:30pm local time and arrive in Johannesburg at 10:30pm.
This route between South Africa and the British overseas territory will be operated once a week – every Saturday (and return on Sunday).
Planning of Saint Helena Airport began in 1999, construction started in 2012 and was finished in 2015 when the Airport was due to open. However the opening was delayed for more than two years because of unexpected wind shear problems.
Embraer flew an E190 test aircraft to Saint Helena Airport in December last year, to prove it can handle the extraordinary circumstances on the island.