Air Senegal will launch three-times weekly flights from London Stansted to Dakar on June 26, providing the UK’s only non-stop route to the Senegalese capital.

The airline will use an A321 with economy and business class cabins, including fully-flat beds in business.

Flights will depart London at 0750 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving at Dakar’s Blaise Diagne International Airport at 1405.

The overnight return will depart at 0015 and arrive at 0625.

Air Senegal was launched by the Senegalese government through an investment arm in 2016 as a new flag carrier for the country.

It currently has two A330-900neos and two ATR 72-600s in its fleet, according to its website.

Last November it ordered eight A220-300s at the Dubai Air Show, and is set to receive two a year from 2021.

It will lease two A321s in order to operate London and Geneva flights for the summer season, with flights to the Swiss city beginning June 18.

It has already launched flights to Barcelona, Paris and Marseilles, as well as routes within Africa.

“We are delighted that Air Senegal has chosen London Stansted for their first and only direct service from the UK to Dakar,” said Aboudy Nasser, Stansted’s chief commercial officer.

“We know that 400,000 people in London Stansted’s catchment area currently travel to Dakar and other key African cities every year from other UK airports, so this new service will not only provide greater choice but help cut down unnecessary journeys.

“The flight will also provide people and businesses the opportunity to connect onto flights to several countries across Africa via its Dakar hub, including the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Mali, Republic of Guinea and Nigeria.”

Bolaji Sofoluwe, managing director of Africa market entry advisory company ETK Group, commented: “A direct route to francophone Africa will create a brand-new range of opportunities for businesses in our region.

“It is also a great link for Africans in diaspora to the Western part of the continent. We fully support this strategic decision by Air Senegal.”