British Airways will launch flights to Marrakech from Gatwick in March in a move putting it head to head with easyJet on a route BA withdrew from almost three years ago.

The airline announced the three-times-a-week service on Monday at World Travel Market. BA previously operated to Marrakech through franchise carrier GB Airways, coming off the route in March 2008 after selling the franchise to easyJet.

BA head of UK sales Richard Tams said the service would offer “a real alternative to discerning travellers”. He added: “Unlike the low-cost carriers, we offer fantastic all-inclusive fares with no stealth extras.”

Moroccan National Tourist Office chief executive Hamid Addou said “We’re delighted BA is returning to Morocco and Marrakech. We know there is a strong demand from the UK market for flagship carriers.”

The route will be BA’s 42nd from Gatwick, which easyJet has developed into its biggest base since absorbing GB Airways. The low-cost carrier flies daily to Marrakech.

The first BA flight will leave on March 27 with departures on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1.05pm. One-way fares start from £79.70 and are available now.

The announcement came within days of BA launching flights twice a week to Cancun, also from Gatwick.