British Airways has announced it has reinstated its flights between London Gatwick and the Portuguese island of Madeira.

The British airline, which suspended its Madeira services a few years ago, is now operating three flights a week between London and Funchal, increasing to five from July, then reducing to four in the winter.

National airport management company ANA – Airports of Portugal forecast that the flights will provide more than 30,000 seats on the route during summer, and 25,000 during winter.

“These numbers show the airline’s recognition of the viability and importance of this route”, ANA said. The British market is the second biggest supplier of passengers to the island, which can be reached in about four hours from London.

Regional secretary for economy, tourism and culture, Eduardo Jesus, said: “With around 470,399 passengers, the British market took, in 2014, second place on the ranking of passengers to Madeira Airport, with a quota of around 19% and a growth of 6.6% in comparison to the year before.”