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Old 17th Mar 2015, 15:32   #1 (permalink)
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St. Helena Service

Comair to fly to the island of St Helena
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Old 17th Mar 2015, 17:50   #2 (permalink)
 
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good news but it would be good if it ran Ascension - St Helena - Joburg and vv
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Old 20th Mar 2015, 18:21   #3 (permalink)
 
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Notably Comair fly their 737s in British Airways livery, being one of the few BA franchised brand operators to remain. When the service starts, I'm sure journalists in the UK will all refer to it as BA.

Also noticed that flights will be from Johannesburg whereas it seems it was previously expected to be from Cape Town.
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Old 20th Mar 2015, 18:27   #4 (permalink)
 
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It would have been better have gone with Atlantic Star ( who have at least visited the island and spoken to Saints and Goverment ) to bring in tourists from Europe. Most Saints have connections with Cape Town and if flights to South Africa were decided on this would have been a better destination.

See St Helena online for further background: St Helena Online | South Atlantic news, in association with The St Helena Independent

This decision seems to smack of the ongoing blundering that is common amongst the ruling classes in London and those on St Helena.
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Old 20th Mar 2015, 18:37   #5 (permalink)
 
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Wouldn't a 737-800 be WAT limited on a JNB - St Helena run?
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Old 21st Mar 2015, 13:43   #6 (permalink)
 
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Yeah it was only meant to be the 737 700, A319 and 757 that were supposed to be able to operate relatively "normally" on 3-5 hour sectors from St Helena. The article quotes a 138 seat aircraft being used but they don't have a 138 seater... What's the takeoff performance like of a 733? They are configured with 118 seats.

I'd bet they'll use a 733. 738 is likely too big/too marginal and same goes for the 734.
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Old 22nd Mar 2015, 21:51   #7 (permalink)
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From the Comair website:

We operate 26 Boeing aircraft, of which 18 we own;

7 x B737-300s
7 x B737-400s
4 x B737-800s

8 aircraft are leased from foreign-owned
leasing companies;
3 x B737-400s
5 x B737-800s

INVESTING in the future, we are in the process of upgrading our entire fleet to Boeing 737-800s. The new aircraft offer a higher seating capacity, lower operating cost and extended potential daily utilisation.
It's better to operate one machine weight limited for one route than to keep a type specifically for that route.

As to the link to CPT, there are so many connections as not to matter and Comair know that there will be many folks arriving in JNB who only want to go to St.Helena (STH??) for a once in a life time trip.
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Old 22nd Mar 2015, 22:05   #8 (permalink)
 
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I suspect Comair's operational base at JNB may be more relevant.

Regarding the 737-800's lesser capability, is this not only at MTOW; with a finite load, say 100 pax, I understand it performs as well if not better than a 737-700.

As I understand it, bulk fuel will not be available at St Helena, and thus the aircraft needs to carry round trip fuel when departing South Africa, which is what makes the JNB departure (at 6,000 ft elevation) more surprising compared to sea-level Cape Town. They would need to carry that anyway because there is no diversion point short of return to base.
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Old 23rd Mar 2015, 10:26   #9 (permalink)
 
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Bulk fuel will be available as Basil Read have installed tankage.
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Old 23rd Mar 2015, 23:49   #10 (permalink)
 
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Many saints are very unhappy at JNB being picked, reasons quoted were:

1. Rumours of lost baggage and theft at Johannesburg Airport
2. Violence in Johannesburg
3. Existing medical appointments etc. In Cape Town

So is this Atlantic Star over and done with then? I hope not
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 10:14   #11 (permalink)
 
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It would be less distance and probably shorter overall journey times to service St Helena from Lagos.

To have to go via Jo'burg or Cape town would be more of dog-leg for most people if they have no need to visit south Africa (and are not travelling from Australia)
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 12:29   #12 (permalink)
 
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But who would want to transit Lagos with the risk of missed connections and having to overnight somewhere?!
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 13:49   #13 (permalink)
 
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peterhr has clearly never had the pleasure of Mutala Muhhamad International. You go there if you really really have to, for no other reason!
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 15:38   #14 (permalink)
 
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"Many saints are very unhappy at JNB being picked,"

i gues if they'd paid for the airport they might have more say............
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 15:40   #15 (permalink)
 
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"peterhr has clearly never had the pleasure of Mutala Muhhamad International. You go there if you really really have to, for no other reason!"

standard security advice is not to leave the airport building until you are met by someone you know and trust (not necessarily the same thing in Lagos ... or Moscow...)
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 16:43   #16 (permalink)
 
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It's not just the medical facilities but all the commercial contacts from St Helena are with Cape Town, because that's where the ship RMS St Helena sails to and from, and always has done. There are many who go to university there, have relatives there, have fishing vessel and marine contacts there, etc.

I wonder if anyone at the UK Department of International Development in Whitehall actually understood that Jo'burg is not on the coast.
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Old 24th Mar 2015, 22:43   #17 (permalink)
 
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While I have sympathy with the 4,500 residents, if they're running the flight to wherever they think the most tourists will want to come from, then they're running it to the least commercially unviable place...

Will the airport be capable of accommodating some kind of UK - Ascension - St Helena - Falklands service? I presume someone somewhere will want to try this if it can be done, at the very least for a few package tours each summer??

Last edited by 01475; 24th Mar 2015 at 22:56.
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Old 25th Mar 2015, 07:58   #18 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01475 View Post
While I have sympathy with the 4,500 residents, if they're running the flight to wherever they think the most tourists will want to come from, then they're running it to the least commercially unviable place...
I don't think that analysis has been made at all. Cape Town already has equivalent links to the main hubs in Europe and the ME3 hubs, which is where I imagine most of the tourist trade will come from, and with only one flight a week there's not going to be a huge tourist trade anyway. Cape Town is also the centre of current inward tourism to South Africa; Jo'burg is the commercial centre.

My suspicion is that, as a UK government contract, it has just been given to the operator from anywhere who came up with the lowest quote, regardless. I don't know if it's a Gross Revenue or a Net Revenue contract; that is, whether it's just a charter, with the UK government receiving any fares income and taking the revenue risk over and above the subsidy, or whether this fares risk and potential revenue is the airline's with the subsidy just being a fixed amount.

Quote:
Will the airport be capable of accommodating some kind of UK - Ascension - St Helena - Falklands service? I presume someone somewhere will want to try this if it can be done, at the very least for a few package tours each summer??
Apparently not. The UK-Ascension-Falklands service is operated, one or two times a week, by large widebody aircraft, which the new minimalist-runway St Helena airport will be too small for. In any event, Ascension has always been closed to casual tourists.
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 17:42   #19 (permalink)
 
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"My suspicion is that, as a UK government contract, it has just been given to the operator from anywhere who came up with the lowest quote, regardless"

yup -we're paying for it and we want it to be as cheap as possible
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Old 27th Mar 2015, 21:24   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Cape Town already has equivalent links to the main hubs in Europe and the ME3 hubs,
It certainly has not. For ultimate in connectivity in SA it is O R Tambo. The international terminal at CPT is very sleepy these days. The flight information board can't even be filled with all the day's (and a bit of the next morning's) services.
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