Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sad News: Virgin Atlantic to suspend flights to Ghana from September 2013….

The 16 employees working for Virgin Atlantic in Ghana will be redundant as the airline shuts its offices in Ghana after its last flight September 23, 2013.

The airline which operates direct flights on the Accra – London route announced Thursday June 6, 2013 that it is suspending operations in Ghana.

It said its decision is due to “exceptionally high fuel costs, a challenging wider economic environment and an inability to operate morning arrivals from Accra due to scarcity of slots at Heathrow.”

When the last flight takes off in September, the airline will shut its offices in Accra and the 16 staff hired through a General Sales Agent will be redundant, Joanne Foster, Virgin’s Communications Manager in-charge of the UK, India, Middle East and Africa told in an email response.

Asked about the implication of the decision on the employees, she said, “We are currently discussing the details with the employees and will be offering them a redundancy package as well as provide support to assist in their efforts to seek re-employment.”

Ms. Foster also told that the airline might return sometime later when economic conditions improve.

“We remain hopeful that economic conditions on the route will improve in future to allow us to resume operations, but in the meantime we have reluctantly decided to cease operations as part of our plan to return to profitability,” she said.

Meanwhile, Virgin is the third international carrier to suspend operations in Ghana in the last one year.

Just two years after launching in Ghana, United Airlines stopped flying direct to Washington DC from Accra in April 2012. Another US airline, Delta Airlines cut its flights from Accra to Atlanta in the same year.

Delta Airlines suspended its service between Atlanta and Accra, Ghana, and Monrovia, Liberia in August 2012, citing “persistently high jet fuel prices and fluctuations in passenger demand” as the reasons.

Virgin launched its Accra services three years ago on May 24, 2010.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: I feel angry and ashamed. There’s a lot going on behind this decision but I don’t blame Virgin, I believe they are champions of the ‘Ghanaian peoplessssss’ but I think it was untenable  and pray they come back -someday!!!

My prayers are with the workers and their families –and pray fervently that this isn’t a sign of the TIMES for Ghana!!!  I hope the bubble keeps bubbling and doesn’t burst ---but really I’m uber disappointed and have no comment to make (???) but like the following comment made by Steve in response to the above text:

By Steve Dated:  June 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm            

Oh Dear!
Ghana, a country with a burgeoning oil industry, politically stable and the people delightful and welcoming, can’t keep Virgin as a client .

This poses some pretty fundamental questions:-
1. Where is your tourist industry? (a hot, easy going country in the same time zone as Europe should be overflowing with tourists, especially at Xmas)

 2. If your fuel price is out of sync with the rest of the world, why not change it? (20% of nothing is less than 5% of something)

 3. Is corruption an issue in this decision? (if Ghana can’t crack Africa’s cancer, no country can – the Yamoussoukro Decision must be implemented )

How sad and best wishes to a more deserving country.

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