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Virgin Atlantic has today announced that it is to suspend its five weekly service from London Heathrow to Accra in Ghana from 23 September 2013, when the last service to Accra will operate.
The airline has cited high fuel costs for the decision. It is understood that Virgin Atlantic has to carry fuel from Heathrow for the return leg back to Heathrow, thus increasing operational costs significantly. The airline has also cited a lack of connectivity to its transatlantic network due to slot limitations at Heathrow (the return from Accra is currently scheduled to arrive at 18:00).
This is the second African route to be suspended by Virgin after Nairobi was suspended from September 2012. Virgin Atlantic will continue to serve Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lagos. British Airways will be the sole operator of flights between London Heathrow and Accra.
Virgin has not yet said how the departure and arrival slot will be deployed (it is required to use the slot 80% of the time to avoid forfeiting it). There is no immediately obvious use for the slot as an arrival slot at 18:00 is not suited to transatlantic services.