Last month Gatwick Airport welcomed new West African airline Gambia Bird - owned by German airline group Germania - to its list of long-haul airlines.
It begins a twice a week direct service to the Gambian capital, Banjul and, on Saturday’s only onward to Freetown in Sierra Leone.
The magnificent coastline of Africa’s smallest country, with its luxurious beach resorts, bustling fishing villages and stunning nature reserves, is not only the attraction for beach-bound travellers, it also offers an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere amongst the heaving markets and its vibrant culture.
Matt Wood, head of airline relations at Gatwick Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gambia Bird and its passengers to the airport today, offering passengers further choice to the west coast of Africa.
“We continue to compete with other London airports and continue to win new airlines and new routes.
“By attracting Gambia Bird, we are committed to offering our passengers the best possible choice of destinations they can fly to throughout the year.”
Karsten Balke, chief commercial officer at Gambia Bird, added: “Our aim is to build a reputation for quality and reliability via our scheduled and punctual services.
“Onward travel connections from Gatwick into Central London and beyond are excellent, so we felt this blended in perfectly with our business model. “And with today’s trend for people to book their own flights, especially if they are returning to a country they love, or to see friends and family, having a scheduled airline that flies into Banjul from Gatwick makes a lot of sense.”
Over the past three years, Gatwick has been investing around £20 million every month to transform the airport to make the facilities better for passengers and attract new airlines.
Recent new direct routes include Beijing, South Korea, Istanbul, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.