Qantas, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic delay return to Hong Kong

As travel returns to the rest of the world, these airlines expect Hong Kong will remain isolated for months to come.

By David Flynn, April 8 2022
Qantas, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic delay return to Hong Kong

Qantas, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have all pushed back their plans to restart Hong Kong flights, despite the Asian financial hub easing up on pandemic-related rules for airlines and travellers.

Although a ban on inbound flights from nine countries, including Australia and the UK, was lifted on April 1 after almost three months, major international carriers have not rushed to return.

Virgin Atlantic is one of the first carriers to publicly state its position. “To ensure operational readiness for our London Heathrow–Hong Kong passenger services, we have taken the careful decision to extend the pause in operations, with the intention to resume services from September 2022,” Virgin said in a statement.

British Airways has responded to customers on Twitter to say its flights to Hong Kong won’t return until at least May 28.

Qantas is now selling tickets for daily Sydney-Hong Kong and Melbourne-Hong Kong flights starting October 30, dashing the hopes of CEO Alan Joyce for a mid-year restart.

“We obviously don’t have a firm date on when (Hong Kong and China) will full open up," Joyce told media at a press conference in February, “but we're hoping it will be July.”

Joyce noted that Hong Kong and Shanghai “together represented around 12%” of Qantas' pre-Covid capacity, with Hong Kong seeing daily services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while the Sydney-Hong Kong route was often upgraded to an Airbus A380 during the peak season spanning from summer to beyond Chinese New Year.

And when Qantas is once again carrying passengers to and from Hong Kong, those travellers won’t be able to enjoy BBQ pork, dum sum and cocktails at the airline's Hong Kong lounge, which was permanently closed barely six years after making its stylish debut in April 2014.

As a result, all lounge-worthy Qantas travellers – including Qantas Club members – will be able to make a pre-flight stop at Cathay Pacific’s The Pier, The Wing and The Deck.

Qantas has also shuttered its much older lounge at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, with the airline shifting its flights to the city’s Haneda Airport, which is more conveniently located closer to the heart of Tokyo.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 333

Problem solvered  Just fly Cathay  immensely better than Qantas, much better lounges (sadly no First though to non-discerning market Australia) No brainer and Cathay's call center from my experience is leaps and millenial bounds ahead of Qantas'


03 May 2013

Total posts 660

With the exodus of professional staff(tech crew etc) from CX I wouldnt be flying them any time soon.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Yep, exactly.  Wish Virgin Atlantic would delay return to HK to 2032 and in the meantime fly LHR to SIN, and then onwards to either ADL, MEL or BNE before a return.    

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 422

I am in Adelaide so my alternative option is Singapore Airlines via Singapore.Granted connections are not going to be anywhere near as good as Qantas but if that eliminates the transferring domestic to international at Melbourne option so be it.They are a way better option under the circumstances.

04 Sep 2019

Total posts 30

CX is in every way superior to Qantas, wish HK would open up so CX can fly again to Aus

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