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Remember Saint Helena Airport (HLE)? Maybe you know it as “The World’s Most Useless Airport.” Well, it turns out that it may not be as useless as its nickname suggests after all.
In case you don’t know, Saint Helena is a remote island approximately 1,200 miles from the West African shoreline, in the middle of the South Atlantic. The British overseen territory is home to just 4,000 residents and has long only been accessible by ship. However, the government spent £285 million (approximately $370 million) to build an airport there and there’s been one weekly commercial flight to and from the airport since October 2017. That’s changing.
Airlink, the airline that operates the once-weekly flight, announced that it’s temporarily increasing its flights between Johannesburg and Jamestown (the capital of St. Helena) from December 2018 through at least April 2019. With some flights in December and January already fully booked, the airline anticipates even more demand to travel to the island during this popular travel period. While they don’t all appear to be loaded in the calendar yet, the airline says that there will be a total of 19 additional flights.
Although the South African regional airline operates flights for Star Alliance member airline South African Airways, you can’t redeem Star Alliance miles to book Airlink flights. And at around $1,000 round-trip, the tickets don’t come cheap. While expensive for anyone, that’s incredibly expensive for native Saint Helenians whose average annual income is just £7,000 (approximately $9,100) — and there’s no resident discount.
TPG’s Senior Points and Miles Contributor Richard Kerr was on the first commercial flight to Saint Helena and described the trip as an experience that will be hard to match.
H/T: One Mile At A Time
Featured image by Remi Bruneton.
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