The government of St Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean, has announced Airlink (South Africa) (4Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has been declared the preferred bidder for the provision of a scheduled commercial air service to St. Helena Airport.

The Request For Proposals (RFP) was issued late last year after an initial contract awarded to British Airways franchisee, Comair (South Africa), failed to gain traction owing to windshear conditions experienced during approach into the airport's Runway 20. As such, this second RFP was aimed primarily at using Runway 02 (the southern approach to the runway).

In its statement issued on Friday, June 9, the St Helena government said it will now enter into a period of contractual negotiations with Airlink. It did not specify the criteria used to adjudicate Airlink's suitability for the contract.

"It is anticipated that a formal announcement will be made in the coming weeks on completion of negotiations and contract signing," it said.

Further details concerning service commencement date, frequency, aircraft type, as well as the international hub and connecting airports Airlink will serve, will be released in due course.

Airlink recently conducted St Helena's maiden commercial service - a return service from Cape Town operated using ARJ-85 equipment - in May. The service operated via Namibe, Angola, and Windhoek Int'l, Namibia, on the outbound and inbound sectors respectively.