SA’s Airlink named preferred bidder for St Helena's commercial flights

South African Airways franchisee airline Airlink has been announced as the preferred bidder for commercial flights to and from St. Helena island.

The provision of a scheduled commercial air service to St. Helena Airport was put on hold last year after wind shear problems experienced on the runway by British Airways franchisee Comair.

Wind shear is the variation in wind velocity occurring along a direction at right angles to the wind's direction and tending to exert a turning force, jeopardising landing safety.

Read: R4.8 billion spent on an airport where planes can't land

Aviation expert Linden Birns says Airlink has found an alternative, smaller aircraft which will help improve their descent on the runway.

They've gone with a proposal put forward by SA Airlink which will use a smaller aircraft called an Embraer 190; it's about an 80 seater aircraft.

Linden Birns, MD of Plane Talking and airline expert

Birns says Airlink appears to be optimistic about the technical capabilities and safety of the Embraer 190 aircraft.

He predicts that the local airline will strike a deal that will protect their finances from any disruptions to the services in their contract.

Also read: SA Airlink comes to the rescue in St Helena

Birns understands that St Helena authorities will subsidise the commercial operation.

It is yet to be seen whether the aircrafts will depart from Cape Town or Johannesburg.

He advises that the city of departure will also determine the range of the aircraft.

Take a listen to him explain the technical logistics and the implications involved:


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