Virgin Atlantic has announced a second daily service between Heathrow and Johannesburg for winter 2018/19.

The new flight will add an additional 180,000 seats on the route on board a new Boeing 787-9 aircraft

Flights go on sale on March 24 with the first departure on October 28.

With the introduction of the extra flight, Virgin Atlantic will operate two flights a day to South Africa’s biggest city and the airline expects to carry more than 300,000 customers a year.

The additional flight will depart London Heathrow at 16.45 every day and land in Johannesburg at 05.40 local time. Virgin Atlantic says it is the first service from Heathrow to land each morning.

The return flight will depart Johannesburg at 22.20 landing into Heathrow at 07.30 UK time and has been timed to enable customers to easily connect onto Virgin Atlantic and Delta flights to more than 200 US destinations, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Shai Weiss, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Virgin Atlantic has been proud to serve South Africa for over 20 years. Johannesburg is one of the most popular destinations on our network so we’re delighted to add a second daily service to create even more travel opportunities for our customers.

“From winter 2018 Virgin Atlantic will operate two flights per day to Johannesburg to make it even easier for customers to travel for business and leisure between the UK and South Africa.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye added: “We’re delighted to see Virgin Atlantic add another daily service to Johannesburg from Heathrow – strengthening Britain’s connections with one of Africa’s most important markets. The new Virgin flight will boost choice for our passengers.”