Atlantic Star will partner with TUI-fly to deliver its 2016 charter flight programme between the UK and St. Helena. TUI Group is Europe's largest travel company and holds a European Air Safety Agency Air Operators Certificate, including the necessary Extended Twin Operations validation necessary to operate to St. Helena. TUI-fly will operate a Boeing 737-800 on the route from London Gatwick to St. Helena, via a short fuel stop in Banjul, Gambia. The two-class configuration will offer Economy and Economy Plus seating options.
The first dates for travel coincide with the Easter school holidays. They will of course be dependent on the airport at St. Helena being opened on schedule in February 2016.
Further flights are planned, timed to coincide with school holidays later in 2016. Atlantic Star will not be able to confirm the dates or release tickets for sale on these services until much nearer the time.
The first service will leave London Gatwick in the late evening of Sunday 20th March, arriving mid-morning in St. Helena on Monday 21st March. The aircraft will then leave St. Helena around lunchtime, to arrive back in London Gatwick late the same night.
The second service will operate to a similar schedule, leaving London Gatwick on Sunday 3rd April to arrive in St. Helena on the 4th April, departing St. Helena the same day to arrive at London Gatwick late that night.
The opportunity to travel direct to and from the UK to St. Helena on these historic flights has led to considerable interest from potential passengers and tickets are expected to sell out quickly.
Tickets will be on sale from midday on Monday 2nd November.
Aiden Walsh, Commercial Director of Atlantic Star said "I am delighted to be working with TUI-fly to deliver our 2016 charter programme. TUI have an excellent reputation for safety, reliability and delivery of an excellent service on board their aircraft. They also have the necessary experience in working in the South Atlantic environment and to remote locations. We look forward to welcoming travellers onto our historic first flights with TUI-fly next Easter, with flight dates and times determined to give tourists and Saints with children maximum vacation time.”
Paul Schmitt of TUI-fly commented "Here at TUI-fly we are proud of our reputation as a safe, flexible and dependable air charter provider. We look forward to working with Atlantic Star and welcoming passengers on board our flights to this new, fascinating and different holiday destination, and also to helping reunite Saints with their families either on the island or in the UK."
Matt Purton of Air Charter Services added "I am delighted that the team at ACS has been able to help Atlantic Star develop a relationship with the right partner airline to build a viable business between the UK and St. Helena. As Europe's largest tour operator TUI has the necessary scale and expertise to operate these charter flights successfully whilst at the same time delivering excellent customer service. ACS and TUI-fly have a longstanding association, and I have every confidence that working together we will make a huge success of this charter programme with Atlantic Star in 2016 and beyond."