G-EUNB’s Historic Flight – April 2020
Written by Paul Blake on April 22, 2020
G-EUNB is the registration number of the Titan Airways Airbus A318-112 aircraft that made the historic ~8500 Nautical Mile round trip from the UK’s London Stansted Airport (STN) to St Helena (HLE) in the period 19th-21st April 2020. This is a ‘log’ of those flights.
The Flight was a partnership between the UK and St Helena Governments. The A318 flew to St Helena to deliver Medical supplies, personnel that will help St Helena fight against Coronavirus and to transport UK Nationals back home.
The A318 departed from London Stansted On Sunday 19th April at 0731 GMT (0831 BST) for a destination of St Helena, via Accra (Ghana) and Ascension Island where it was scheduled to stay overnight.
The A318 landed at Accra on schedule at 1433 Local Time for a Technical Stop (Refuelling etc). When the flight departed from Accra at 1648 Local Time it was being reported on Flight Radar that it was flying direct to St Helena (HLE). This caused much online social media speculation of the destination of the aircraft. Seasoned St Helena Flight watchers knew that this was ‘fake news’ as it would be dark in St Helena and the Airport is unable to handle Night Flights and the Airbus was in fact heading to Ascension as the plan was.
FlightRadar continued showing its interpolated data of the A318 en-route to HLE. Watchers would know for certain at around 1930 GMT because the plane would come into range of St Helena Flight Radars terrestrial receiving stations and either update or freeze. It was of course the latter. The aircraft successfully landed at Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island at 2003 GMT. (Memo Flight Radar has no terrestrial receiving stations on Ascension).
The planned night stop allowed for refuelling and crew rest before departing for St Helena the following morning.
On Monday 21st April, the A318 continued from Ascension Island to St Helena where it arrived safely at 1255 GMT.
This was the 1st time that an Airbus Aircraft had landed on St Helena. The plane conducted two successful training and proving flights on Monday afternoon, making landings on both Runway 02 & 20.
The A318 departed St Helena at 1002 GMT on Tuesday 21st April carrying 23 UK Nationals, in addition to five European Nationals, back to the UK.
It landed back in Accra (Ghana) for a technical stop at 1316 GMT then resumed the flight to Stansted at 1439 GMT, touching down on Stansted’s single runway at 2059 GMT (2159 BST).
We believe this is the fastest time anyone has travelled from St Helena to the UK – 10 hrs and 57 minutes unless anyone else knows different?
The A318 came to a stand at Stansteds Business Terminal (Titan Airways’ Base) rather than the main passenger terminal. – Another experience for the passengers on this record-breaking flight.
Congratulations to all those involved in pulling this flight together.