Virgin Australia Launches Direct Flights to Hong Kong and Mainland China

17th Feb 2017

Virgin Australia has applied with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow a codeshare alliance with three Chinese carriers ? Hong Kong Airlines, HK Express and HNA Aviation as part of its plan to launch direct flights to Hong Kong and mainland China.

On Friday, the second largest airline in Australia said it plans to start direct flights to Hong Kong from Australia in June, 2017 and will use Airbus A330s for it. Passengers will then have the option to connect to destinations in mainland China from Hong Kong operated by one of these airlines.

At the moment, there is no information as to where from Australia will these routes start, but Virgin will also cooperate with the carriers on sales, marketing, route planning and frequent flyer programs.

Chief executive officer of Virgin Australia John Borghetti said:

"We are excited about introducing direct Virgin Australia flights - and our famous customer service - to Hong Kong, together with access to destinations across China. The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia's fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market."

HNA Aviation already owns a 20% stake in Virgin Australia. According to Borghetti, this airline flies nearly 100 million travelers on a yearly basis and its codeshare alliance with Virgin Australia would bring more visitors from China to Australia. He also said that the alliance with HNA, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines was a key in Virgin's long-term international strategy.

On Friday, Virgin Australia revealed a loss of $21.5 million in the last six month of last year (concluding with 31st December, 2016). For the same period in 2015, VA registered a profit of $62.5 million. At the same time, the airline also reported an underlying profit before tax of $42.3 million for the second half of 2016, $39.2 million less than in the same period the year prior.

The Australia-Hong Kong route is currently dominated by Qantas and its codeshare partner Cathay Pacific, currently the only airlines to fly non-stop to Hong Kong from Sydney and Melbourne.