A trusted source of Asia-Pacific commercial aviation news and analysis

JULY 2018

Week 27


Virgin Australia launches Hong Kong-Sydney

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July 6th 2018

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On Monday, Virgin Australia launched a daily Hong Kong-Sydney A330-200 route, complementing its existing A330 service between Hong Kong and Melbourne launched in 2017. Read More »

Virgin Australia hopes to capture “the growing Chinese tourism market, from both an inbound and outbound perspective” with its Australia-Hong Kong flights. After all, the airline insists, Hong Kong is still an important transfer hub for travel to and from the Mainland.

Virgin has built an alliance with HNA Group and its local affiliate, Hong Kong Airlines. The Brisbane-headquartered carrier is banking on connecting traffic from the Hong Kong airline to boost load factor.

Similarly, Hong Kong Airlines is hoping to grow its footprint in the Australian market with its Virgin codeshares. The airline cannot launch its own services to Sydney and Melbourne because it does not have the traffic rights. Cathay Pacific Airways holds all slots available to Hong Kong-based airlines under the relevant air services agreement.

The slot constraints also mean Virgin has had to reduce Hong Kong-Melbourne to five-weekly in order to open a daily Hong Kong-Sydney route.

Cathay Pacific has four flights a day to Sydney with A330-300 and B777-300ER aircraft. Its oneworld alliance partner, Qantas Airways, operates a daily B747-400 and an A330-300 on the route.

Virgin Australia claimed the average airfare between Hong Kong and Melbourne has dropped more than 30% since the carrier commenced the route last July.

Last month, Virgin Australia Group CEO, John Borghetti, announced he would relinquish his role by January 1, 2020, and that a global search for his successor would soon commence.

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