Hong Kong Airlines axes Gold Coast, Cairns flights

By David Flynn, June 3 2018
Hong Kong Airlines axes Gold Coast, Cairns flights

Hong Kong Airlines is pulling out of the Australian market with the axing of its flights to the Gold Coast and Cairns.

The Virgin Australia partner airline has confirmed those flights will end on 28 October 2018 "due to its changing business strategy in the Australian market."

Hong Kong Airlines flew to the Gold Coast just three times a week, and with flights going via Cairns it wasn't a direct service, although the low fares – as little as $1,880 for a business class return fare during sale periods – were appealing to business travellers on a budget.

AusBT review: Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 business class, Gold Coast-Cairns-Hong Kong

In a statement announcing the closure, Hong Kong Airlines says that "alternative travel arrangements will be offered to passengers who are already booked on Hong Kong Airlines flights to and from Gold Coast and Cairns after the service ends."

This includes free date changes to travel before October 28, free transfer to Gold Coast and Cairns flights operated by Virgin Australia or Hainan Airlines, and full refunds.

Hong Kong Airlines currently codeshares on Virgin Australia's Melbourne-Hong Kong route and will also do so when Virgin's new daily Sydney-Hong Kong service launches on July 2, 2018.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

Changing strategy? Does this mean VA might fill in the gap from BNE?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 74

If VA had some planes to do this, I guess they might. Somehow think they're getting a bit short on aircraft now though in addition to Sydney and Melbourne to HK.


01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

They'll just take another A330 off transcon. I hope they're not far off the new 737 business because transcon is getting more and more narrow body

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 361

Also I don't think VA is allowed to fly to HKG at this stage. The number of pax between Aus and HKG is maxed out that's why Hong Kong Air had to fly to GC instead of BNE.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 361

I meant VA not allowed to fly BNE-HKG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 324

@Michael Kao. The bilateral on the Australian end is not maxed out which is why VA is flying from MEL and SYD to HKG on behalf of HX.

It's only maxed on the HKG end which is why HX's parent bought into VA to get Oz rights.

VA replacing HX's OOL-CNS-HKG with BNE-HKG isn't a impossible task, the only issues are slots in HKG (They could probably replace the current slots used for OOL-CNS-HKG with VA's BNE-HKG instead).

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 23

+1 to DanV.

As far as I know, Australia and HK have 70 "frequencies" per week that they can allocate to their airlines for routes between HKG and SYD/MEL/BNE/PER (other Australian airports are not counted within this cap, e.g. the flights to OOL/CNS/ADL).

Cathay has used all 70 of the Hong Kong allocations (which is partially why they are upgauging their planes, as that is the only way to increase capacity on their end):
- 30 weekly (4+ daily) to SYD
- 21 weekly (3 daily) to MEL
- 10 weekly (1 daily non-stop, plus 3 weekly sometimes via CNS, sometimes non-stop) to BNE
- 9 weekly (1 daily, plus 2 weekly) to PER

Australia has only used ~40 of the 70 frequencies:
- QF has 28 frequencies (2 daily to SYD, 1 daily each to MEL and BNE)
- VA will have 12 frequencies (daily to SYD, 5 weekly to MEL)

So VA should be able to launch BNE-HKG (or PER-HKG I guess) from this point of view. However, as DanV noted, the slots are the constraining factor. If VA are able to use them), the HX slots are evening arrival and evening departure from HKG, which would allow VA to match most of their AU flights.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 125

Brisbane is 11x weekly with CX

Perth is 10x weekly with CX

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2014

Total posts 3

They were stupid by not flying hk cairns then gold coast.doomed before they started.cathy watches then come and go amazing how dumb some ceos are

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 78

Could be a strategic move by HX to allow VA to grab HKG slots for direct BNE flights.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Dec 2015

Total posts 4

Bummer. Family of 5 booked in Jan 2019 OOL - CNS - HKG - YVR - YKA. I wonder what our options will be. Time to put Flight Centre on the job I guess.

09 Feb 2018

Total posts 6

Shame, now I won't be able to fly from my local OOL.

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