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Ascension Island: Important Update regarding Flights and Fuel

By Val Ellis last modified Sep 22, 2017 10:21 AM
Contributors: Bob Conrich
The Atlantic's largest marine reserve is a traditional port of call for ships on the Cape of Good Hope route. Ascension however is only occasionally visited by yachts, but if it's on your wish list the bad state of repair of the runway and planned withdrawal of the fuel supplier may be a cause for concern.

Published: 2017-05-10 23:00:00
Countries: Ascension Island , St Helena

Flights to/from Ascension Island

Here is a copy of  a statement from the JFC (UK Joint Forces Command) HQ regarding the runway on Ascension Island (dated 14 April 2017):-

“As part of ongoing monitoring of the state of repair of the Ascension Island runway, we have made the decision to not fly the Voyager aircraft to Ascension for our routine flight from 14 April 2017, for safety reasons. We will ensure the continuation of military support to the Falkland Islands through an alternative hub, and are working with the Foreign Office to put temporary measures in place to support the people who live and work on Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands.”

A large number of people transit Ascension Island to and from St Helena and we are currently reviewing the passenger lists for both the RMS and for flights from Ascension Island to establish how best to proceed."

It seems that as part of the runway is still usable, emergency Medivac flights (which use smaller aircraft) are still possible. The entire runway needs resurfacing.  The air base is leased to the US Air Force and they are responsible for the repaving. There is no information as to when (or if) this will be done. However, the previously regular RAF flights from Brize Norton, UK to Ascension, which also carry a small number of civilians, will no longer be operated.

A new air passenger service between South Africa and St Helena is planned to be in place later this year.  It is not known if it will provide a monthly service to Ascension.

Supply of Fuel

A quote from 'The Sentinal' (newspaper), St Helena by Andrew Turner:

"Solomons Ceasing Fuel Supply to Ascension Island

Solomons are in the process of withdrawing their operations on Ascension Island. This has been a lengthy process and has seen the stores being handed over to Falklands Chandlery. The main issue being experienced by residents is the future of fuel on the island. Currently the island’s only public fuel station is run by Solomon & Co who supplies petrol and diesel to residents. However the future of fuel supplies to residents is in doubt. Solomon’s have said that due to issues with the petrol tank at the station, repair works are needed. However petrol is due to be phased out in 2020 and so it has been deemed as “financially not viable” to do the necessary works.

As a result of recent events Solomon’s have decided to withdraw all operations from Ascension as soon as possible. This means that diesel retail will also soon be stopped. It is unclear how Ascension Island residents will continue to source fuel in the future. Many residents have expressed their concerns and dismay at the situation which is likely to cause many problems for transport on the island."

For the foreseeable future, it would be wise for cruisers calling at Ascension, not to rely on being able to get fuel of any type there. Also, hiring a car may be difficult too.

Our thanks to Bob Conrich for sending us this information.

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Blackie
Blackie says:
Sep 01, 2017 11:16 AM

We stopped over at Ascension in July 2017. Hired a car quite easily from the Obsidian Hotel. Fuel was supplied from a barge that was on a mooring ball. Priced at 1.01GBP per litre. Pre-approved permits were 20GBP p.p and harbour dues 15GBP per boat.The access to shore can be a bit problematic at times when the surge washes up onto the platform and steps. Well stocked Chandlery mini market although fresh produce is sometimes scarce.

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