Atlantic Star Airlines (London Luton) says it will partner TUI fly (Netherlands) (OR, Amsterdam Schiphol) for direct flights between the United Kingdom and St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory located 1,950km west of the southern coast of Africa, beginning early next year.

"A tremendous amount of hard work has gone in behind the scenes by the team at Atlantic Star Airlines, TUIfly, Air Charter Services and TravelPack to bring these charter flights together," Richard Brown, founder of Atlantic Star Airlines, said. "We should also acknowledge the huge task that has faced UK DfID, St. Helena Government, Basil Read Construction and their associated staff and contractors in building an airport for St. Helena from the ground up. We wish them well in the forthcoming airport certification process and look forward to enjoying a smooth touchdown on the island at Easter 2016."

The flights, operated as charters by TUIfly, will operate under the flight number OR1502 for the southbound flight, reflecting the year St. Helena was discovered, while the northbound flight will be OR2002, the year that St Helenans became British Citizens.

Tickets will go on sale at midday on Monday November 2, 2015.

Meanwhile, the governments of Ascension Island and St Helena have selected Comair (South Africa) (MN, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) as the preferred bidder for the provision of air services between the two islands.

As previously reported, Comair will operate a weekly return flight between Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and St Helena using a B737-800 beginning in March next year. The service to and from Georgetown Wideawake, however, will be an extension to this service – initially on a frequency of once every four weeks and for a trial period of one year.

"This flight will take approximately two hours, with an overnight stay on Ascension Island," the St Helena government said. "The flight will then depart Ascension Island on Sunday morning for St Helena Airport – and then on to Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport."

Home to a Royal Air Force Air Base, Ascension Island is located roughly 1,300km northwest of St Helena.