As announced last November, British Airways started flights to Marrakech in Morocco, from London Gatwick on March 27, 2011.

The new flights are in direct competition with the low-cost carriers and are a great alternative to discerning travelers to Morocco, the airline said in a statement.

Unlike the low cost carriers, we offer fantastic all-inclusive fares with no stealth extras. The benefits you get on BA at no extra charge include a generous baggage allowance, drinks and snacks and much more, Richard Tams, head of UK and Ireland sales and marketing, BA, said .

Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s will fly thrice a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, to Marrakech, and return the same evening.

Moroccan authorities welcomed the move by British Airways, calling it beneficial for both, the airline and the country, where there is a strong demand from the UK tourist market for flagship carriers, the chief executive officer of the Moroccan National Tourist Office, Mr Hamid Addou, said.

According to British Airways, Marrakech is a key tourism destination in the southern Europe and Africa regions, and a great starting point to explore Morocco. The city's ancient fortified medinas (walled cities), proximity with Atlas Mountains, deserts and beaches make it a wonderful holiday spot. To top on that is its growing poularity as a value travel destination, as the food, shopping and accommodation is very cheap, costing less than half of that in the United States.

Marrakech adds another fabulous destination to our leisure network at Gatwick and I am confident it will be a huge success, added Tams.