FAQ Archive - St Helena Airport
Q. Is St Helena Airport operational?
A: Yes, St Helena Airport is certified and open, and has successfully accommodated a number of flights including medical emergency evacuations, regular charter flights and ad hoc private charter flights conducted by visitors to the Island.
Trial flights using a number of different types of large passenger aircraft have also been conducted to further understand and manage the issues of turbulence and wind shear experienced by some aircraft arriving at the Airport.
Q. How can the Airport meet safety standards when there is wind shear?
A: Airport certification and operational readiness are parallel processes. Wind shear and turbulence is a separate issue which does not affect the certification of St Helena Airport.
Air Safety Support International (ASSI) has undertaken its assessment of St Helena Airport and has determined that it complies with the required international aviation and security standards. One of the aspects relating to safety is that St Helena Airport has been classified as a Category C Aerodrome. Category C aerodromes have additional considerations for the approach, landing and take-off of aircraft.
The regulator (ASSI), the British and South African Civil Aviation Authorities, and the UK Met Office, continue to be consulted. In particular, ASSI needs to see that pilots are made fully aware of the issues and that the Airport has put in place appropriate guidance for pilots to be able to assess flying conditions at the Airport.
Q. When will scheduled commercial flights commence to St Helena and Ascension?
A: In 2015, SHG negotiated a contract with Comair of South Africa to operate a single weekly service between Johannesburg and St Helena utilising a Boeing B737-800LD. However, scheduled services to St Helena did not commence in May 2016 as planned due to turbulence and wind shear identified on the approach path to the main, northern end of the runway, during test flights in April 2016. As a result, Comair’s air service has been put on hold and intensive work has got underway to understand the wind conditions better and identify how to mitigate the challenges they present.
Runway 02, the southern approach to the runway, does not experience the same level of wind shear but requires a tailwind approach. Data on the tailwind speeds, and in particular the frequencies at which they exceed 10 knots and 15 knots, is being collected.
St Helena Government (SHG) is therefore currently seeking to establish a regular scheduled air service to St Helena. SHG wishes to appoint one or more air service providers operating an aircraft type capable of landing on Runway 02, which will involve landing with a tailwind component as an interim measure whilst potential mitigations to the limited availability of Runway 20 are explored. It is hoped that a contract (or contracts) will be awarded in UK summer 2017.
Q. What facilities are available to passengers or visitors who are visually or hearing impaired, or who are disabled or have mobility issues?
A: Flight information and other announcements are made over the tannoy and are also shown on display boards within the Terminal Building. Staff are available in the Terminal Building to provide further assistance.
With the exception of the landside restaurant, all of the facilities for passengers and visitors are located on the ground floor of the Terminal Building. The landside restaurant is located on the 1st floor of the Terminal Building and can be accessed by stairs or a lift which can accommodate a wheelchair and an assistant.
Passenger assist vehicles and staff are available to assist passengers embarking and disembarking aircraft on the apron.
Q. Is smoking allowed at the Airport?
A: Smoking is strictly prohibited in Airport buildings and near the Airport Fuel Facility.
Smoking receptacles are available outside the Terminal Building.
Q. Can I bring a pet to the Airport?
A: No. Pets are not allowed at the Airport unless they are being transported to/from St Helena, or if they are a working animal such as a Guide Dog or security dog.
Q. Are there any banned or prohibited items that I cannot bring to St Helena?
A: Yes. Please see the “Security Information” section for details on items that are restricted, banned or considered dangerous goods by the aviation industry. These restrictions are in place to maintain the safety and security of aircraft, passengers, crew, cargo and all other users of the Airport.
St Helena Island also has a list of banned and restricted items. Please see the Biosecurity and Customs information found in the ”Arriving at St Helena” section for further guidance.
Q. How is lost property dealt with at the Airport?
A: Passengers and visitors must keep their belongings with them at all times to ensure the safety and security of the Airport is maintained. If passengers or visitors become parted from their baggage or property, it is best to check with the Lost Property department in the Terminal Building to see if it has been handed in.
Unattended baggage or property is considered a security risk and as such security personnel are permitted to remove it, open it and if it appears to be suspect, destroy it.
As such, it is very important that passengers and visitors keep their personal belongings with them at all times to avoid creating an unnecessary security alert.
Lost property immediately returned to its rightful owner will be done so without charge, but if lost property needs to be stored for any length of time, the Airport Operator is permitted to charge for its storage.
Lost property will be stored for up to six months, possibly less if the property is hazardous or likely to degrade. If it is not claimed by its rightful owner within that time, it will be either sold, given to charity or disposed of. Perishable goods will be sold or disposed of within 48 hours of being handed into the Lost Property department. Records of lost property will be kept for a minimum of 12 months.
Q. Is a public transport service available to and from the Airport?
A: At present there is no public transport service in place whilst we await the commencement of regular scheduled commercial flights. Once this is in place, a public transport service will be available and the bus timetable on the Airport website will be amended accordingly.
Q. Are taxis and private hire vehicles available at the Airport?
A: Yes, but in limited numbers, so please check with the St Helena Tourism Office prior to your arrival or departure to ensure transport from or to the Airport is available when you need it.
Q. What parking is available at the Airport?
A: There are designated parking bays for private vehicles, hire cars, motorcycles, buses and taxis outside the Terminal building; disabled-access parking is also available.
Parking is currently free but time-limited, so passengers and visitors will not be able to leave vehicles at the Airport indefinitely; actual time limits will be displayed on notices at the Airport and will be available on this website in due course.
Q. What will happen if the flight has to be diverted due to bad weather or technical problems?
A: The use of Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island as a nominated diversion for domestic services between St Helena and Ascension has been approved. If a flight arriving at St Helena needs to be diverted, it will either continue onto Ascension Island or it will return to the airport it came from.
In any event, in accordance with international law, the Ascension Island aerodrome would be available for dealing with an emergency.
Q. What are the international airport codes for St Helena Airport?
A: The three-letter IATA code for St Helena Airport is HLE. This is the code usually found on your baggage labels and tickets.
The four-letter ICAO code for St Helena Airport is FHSH. This code is usually used by aviation professionals to identify the Airport.
Q. How long is the runway at St Helena Airport?
A: The runway dimensions are as follows:
Runway length – 1850m x 45m
Landing Distance Available – Runway 20: 1550m; Runway 02: 1535m
Q. Who does St Helena Airport belong to?
A: The Airport belongs solely to the St Helena Government, but is managed by the Airport Operator (Basil Read).
Q. Will St Helena Airport be a military airport?
A: No. St Helena Airport is a commercial airport operated by Basil Read on behalf of St Helena Government.