Virgin Australia Announces Flights To Hong Kong Starting Mid-2017
In an attempt to make the Australia to Hong Kong route more competitive, a route which is currently serviced by Qantas and Cathay Pacific. Though the airline had said back in 2016 it had interest in the route, it did not give very many details on how it planned to carry it out. The airline announced on Friday that it will begin the route in mid-2017 (pending government approval). The airline believes it should receive approval within the next few weeks.
Virgin says it will operate the Airbus A330 on the route when it begins operation. The announcement also included details on its alliance agreement with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines, and HK Express. That alliance is pending government approval in Australia. The partnership will offer codeshare and direct service between Australia and Hong Kong and Australia and mainland China.
The full Virgin Australia press release:
Virgin Australia today announced details of its alliance agreement with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, with the airlines submitting an application for authorisation of the proposed alliance to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Subject to authorisation, the airlines plan to:
- Introduce new direct services between Australia and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong), as well as Australia and The People’s Republic of China (mainland China) operated by Virgin Australia;
- Codeshare on each other’s flights between Australia and Hong Kong, between Australia and mainland China and on each other’s domestic networks; and
- Co-operate in relation to route planning, sales, distribution and marketing, frequent flyer programs, lounge access and other activities.
As part of the first stage of the alliance, Virgin Australia plans to introduce flights between Australia and Hong Kong in mid-2017. The airlines are seeking interim authorisation of the proposed alliance to enable the introduction of these services as well as the commencement of codeshare arrangements.
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said: “This new alliance will be a game changer for travel between Australia and China, providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers.
“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 fly nearly 100 million passengers each year and we look forward to working collaboratively with them to drive inbound visitation to Australia, resulting in significant benefits for the Australian tourism industry and broader economy.
“Importantly, this strategic alliance with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express is a key plank in Virgin Australia’s International strategy and will help our business deliver long-term growth and success.”
Virgin Australia services to Hong Kong will be operated using Airbus A330 aircraft, which feature the airline’s award-winning Business Class, ‘The Business’. The alliance will offer guests on these services onward connections to destinations in mainland China on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines. Further details, including departure port/s in Australia, schedule and pricing, will be released in coming months, and the flights are subject to regulatory approvals. Virgin Australia also plans to introduce direct flights between Australia and mainland China in further stages of the agreement.
Subject to regulatory approval, Virgin Australia will implement codeshare (VA*) on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and other HNA Aviation airlines on journeys between Australia and mainland China and between Australia and Hong Kong.
Customers of Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will be able to book travel on Virgin Australia’s domestic and trans-Tasman network.
Loyalty program benefits
Velocity Frequent Flyer’s 7 million members will enjoy a frequent flyer partnership with Fortune Wings Club, including:
- The opportunity to earn Points and Status Credits on alliance routes; and
- Reciprocal access to tier status benefits including lounge access, priority check-in, priority boarding and additional baggage allowances.
Further details of the frequent flyer partnership will be released in coming months