Virgin Australia first started its Hong Kong services back in July of 2017. This new route would be their first route into Asia besides Denpasar, and their A330 fleet would operate it. Competition between airlines on the Australia – Hong Kong route is extremely fierce with the likes of Cathay and Qantas operating flights per day, so this was going to be interesting for the airline.
After having success with the Melbourne route, the airline decided it’d be worthwhile adding a Sydney route to greater increase their route network and compete with other large carriers. Unfortunately for the airline, the Melbourne route was not performing as hoped. It was in turn, not creating enough revenue with prompted the removal of the service, which is on February 11th.
From March 2nd 2020, Virgin Australia will no longer operate their Sydney to Hong Kong service. The cancellation of Sydney goes alongside the Melbourne service, which will be cut on February 11th.
Hong Kong has also been at the face of some massive events which have severely affected airlines and the tourism industry among everything else. The riots have caused significant disruptions to passenger numbers, and on top of that, the coronavirus has also had an enormous part.
“While the decision to withdraw from the Hong Kong market has been a difficult one, it demonstrates our strong focus on driving greater financial discipline through our network.
“Current circumstances demonstrate that Hong Kong is no longer a commercially viable route for Virgin Australia to continue operating, however international tourism remains an important part of our strategy through our other international routes and partner airlines,”
What was the Hong Kong service like?
I personally only got to fly on the A330 service once, and that was from Hong Kong to Melbourne. I thoroughly enjoyed the service and would have definitely retaken the flight, especially from Melbourne or Sydney.
From what I’ve heard, the loads before the two significant occurrences for the Hong Kong service were really 50/50, which isn’t really what you want from an airline on a regular basis.
What is next for the airline in terms of routes?
Virgin has its brand new Brisbane – Tokyo service starting on March 29th, and I believe this will be an extremely valuable route. With the ANA partnership, this flight will be a fantastic choice for people wanting to travel to the land of the rising sun.
Japan is a prevalent travel market with over half a million Australians choosing to travel to Japan in 2018. That’s a pretty significant number, and it continues to grow year after year.