Friday 27th March 2015 was a day to remember in the history of St Helena. This was the day when all was revealed to the local population as to who was getting the contract to be the first ones to fly in and out and who was getting the contract to operate the new hotel being built at 1 2 & 3 Main Street.
The announcements were coupled with an opportunities fair which highlighted all the new business and employment opportunities which are likely to evolve from the announcements. A video link to South Africa was set up which relayed the Chairman of Comair South Africa and the Mantis Hotel Group.
Comair will be flying from Johannesburg initially once a week on a Saturday. The flight is likely to take around 5 hours and will be a daytime flight, returning to Johannesburg the same day.
The news was communicated by our Governor Mark Capes.
There were other good news announcements. The signing of a contract to operate the new Jamestown Hotel which will be built on the site of our training school at 2onmain.
Mantis are familiar with the island having visited here in 2013 with a view to looking at potential hotel sites. Amongst others, they have a very nice hotel in Cheltenham and also the Draycott Hotel in London.
The building is starting probably July so we have a month or so to get all our stock and equipment together and move it out.
Our new location is very likely to be Bertrand's Cottage in Longwood. More of that when I have full confirmation that it will go ahead.
There was also confirmation that the local hospital is to receive an upgrade to the tune of over £2 Million. This is great news to the locals who have to tolerate the thought of travelling by sea for five days to Cape Town when something is really wrong with them.
We have the Costa Neoriviera in St James's Bay today.
This Behemoth of a ship is one of the largest of the 12 Cruise ships we are going to see this year.
She dwarfs everything else in the bay and looks like a gigantic floating apartment block. On board there are nearly 2000 passengers and crew, which is just about half the population of the island.
This could potentially upset the whole food chain here if all the visitors eat three meals today. Luckily they are well fed on board so we should see food in the shops tomorrow.
The press release below has announced the first air carrier to St Helena in the history of the island.
This has been a long awaited answer to the question on many people's lips.
Now the question has to be How Much ? and When are other carriers going to be interested?
Its exciting times and this announcement is one more piece in the jigsaw to get this island connected with the world!
AIR SERVICES TO ST HELENA
SHG and DFID are pleased to announce the appointment of Comair Limited as the preferred bidder for the provision of air services to St Helena.
Comair is a South African aviation and travel company offering scheduled and non-scheduled airline services within South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Managed and owned by South Africans through its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Comair has been operating successfully in South Africa since 1946. The company operates under its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, as well as under the British Airways livery as part of its license agreement with British Airways plc.
Comair is proposing a weekly flight between Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport, formerly known as Johannesburg International Airport) and St Helena using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The flight time from Johannesburg to St Helena will be about four and a half hours.
Through Comair’s partnerships with numerous international airlines, the St Helena air service will offer connections to the international route network, via Johannesburg, to destinations such as London, Amsterdam, Paris, Sydney and Hong Kong.
SHG and DFID will be holding detailed discussions with Comair over the next few weeks and will make a formal and more detailed announcement once these have been concluded.
This marks a very positive step for St Helena in working with an airline that has such a long track record of successful operations and which provides an excellent gateway to the rest of the world, including the UK.
Further announcements will follow.
16 March 2015