Virgin Australia Secures Traffic Rights for Beijing and Hong Kong
20th Jun 2016
Virgin Australia has secured the traffic rights to start operating between Australia and Beijing and Hong Kong from the International Air Services Commission (IASC). The Australian carrier will begin flying to these destinations on 1st June, 2017 and has been given permission to operate there for the next five years.
The IASC has approved Virgin Australia for 1,925 seats per week of capacity to Beijing and seven flights per week to Hong Kong.
The airline has not yet revealed from which city in Australia will be operating the new services.
Virgin will also need to obtain takeoff and landing slots at both Beijing Capital International Airport and the Hong Kong International Airport.
What is known, however, is that VA will use Airbus A330-200 aircraft for daily flights to Beijing and Hong Kong. That's according to the strategic alliance the carrier has with China-registered HNA Aviation.
Speaking about this, Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti earlier said:
"This strategic alliance will have us jointly operating to China from Australia. We certainly will be flying there. Whether it is all Virgin Australia aircraft or not, let's see how that works out. It will be a joint operation and that's what's important. Both of us will be promoting traffic between the two countries."
Mr Borghetti also added:
"There is a lot of attraction of operating into Beijing for example. There is also a lot of attraction of operating into Hong Kong but that is still being worked through so let's see."
Right now, Virgin doesn't fly to Hong Kong, but its customers can use Singapore Airline's flights to get there (via Singapore) as the Australian carrier places its VA airline code on SIA's flights.
In its determination, IASC said that, in the last five years, the Australia-China route had grown by about 12 per cent per year. Currently, China Southern has the highest traffic passenger share of 23.4 per cent and is followed by Cathay Pacific (15.3 per cent) and China Eastern (13.7 per cent).
When it comes to its Hong Kong decision, IASC said this route had grown by an average of four per cent per year in the last five years. The largest passenger share here is held by Cathay (45.3 per cent) and another Australian carrier, Qantas has 36.2 per cent.