On Moday 2nd November at mid-day it will be possible to buy tickets for the first ever flight from Gatwick to St. Helena. The fares are cheaper than a combined flight via South Africa: £1299 economy class,£1799 economy plus; children £799. Prices are for the return ticket. This is a charter flight, and no single fares are available. Flight time is approx 11 hours, with a short refuelling stop in Banjul, Gambia.
The first flight leaves Gatwick on Sunday 20th March. Saints will be able to book a passage for departure from St. Helena on 21st March. The next flights will be two weeks later: Sunday 3rd April/Monday 4th April.
The charter flight programme is being provided by the fledgling Atlantic Star Airlines in collaboration with TUI-fly, which will operate a Boeing 737-800.
Experts on St Helena history will realise that the initial flight number recognises the date St. Helena was discovered. The return flight number will be OR2002, reflecting the date that Saints regained their British citizenship.
Of course the planned first flight depends on St. Helena airport being ready, and as all those who love the island will testify after a few drinks at the Consulate, everything always goes according to plan on St. Helena. Anyway hats off to the enterprising people at Atlantic Airlines who at considerable personal risk are trying to make this dream a reality.