British Airways is meeting the challenge of rival Virgin Atlantic’s return to the London-Cape Town route by adding more flights to the South African city.

British Airways is also set to be the only carrier with a regular scheduled service between the UK and St Lucia following Virgin Atlantic’s decision to stop serving the route after June 8.

Capacity is being raised by British Airways on routes from Gatwick next winter to Cape Town, St Lucia and Cancun.

Cape Town will gain two extra flights a week from January 10, 2021, to bring the frequency up to 19 flights a week from London airports.

This will be in addition to 14 flights a week to Johannesburg and three to Durban.

The move follows Virgin Atlantic announcing a return to Cape Town in October after an absence of six years.   

St Lucia will be served by nine British Airways flights a week from Gatwick, an increase of two a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays over this winter and matching the frequency available over the summer.

The Mexican resort of Cancun gains an additional two flights a week from December 6, 2020, to bring the weekly frequency up to six.

The airline is revamping its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick with new look economy and premium economy seats. New headrest covers, cushions and blankets will also be on Gatwick flights for economy passengers from March 1.

British Airways’s Gatwick managing director Adam Carson said: “We know our customers crave some winter warmth as these are incredibly popular destinations.

“To make it even easier to get there we’re increasing the number of flights to St Lucia, Cancun and Cape Town from London Gatwick and we’ve put them on days that work well to maximise travellers’ time and annual leave.”