Virgin Atlantic suspends Hong Kong flights until March 2023

The proposed September 1 reset has now been pushed back by six months.

By David Flynn, July 21 2022
Virgin Atlantic suspends Hong Kong flights until March 2023
Executive Traveller exclusive

Hong Kong has been scrubbed from Virgin Atlantic’s network until at least March next year, as the Asian metropolis continues to struggle with conflicting goals of adhering to China’s Covid-Zero policy while hanging onto its status as a global financial hub.

Virgin Atlantic, which flew a daily Boeing 787 between London and Hong Kong prior to the pandemic, suspended its Hong Kong route in December 2021 but hoped to resume flights on September 1 2022.

However, the airline now says those flights won’t come back until March 1, 2023.

“Due to ongoing operational complexities on our London to Hong Kong route, we have taken the careful decision to extend our pause in operations, with the intention to resume services on 26th March 2023,” a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic confirmed to Executive Traveller.

“We look forward to returning to this important Asian hub, providing vital connectivity between the UK and Hong Kong for customers and global supply chains.”

The airline says it “will begin contacting customers next week with their options, including to rebook on a later date, convert their booking to a voucher, or to request a refund.”

“Our Hong Kong customers are important to us and we look forward to returning to the skies with them next year.”

British Airways, which has also been absent from Hong Kong skies, currently lists the return of its daily BA31/BA32 service from October 30, although as the start of the airline industry’s summer 2022-2023 scheduling period, that date serves more as a formal placeholder.

At the time of writing a spokesperson for British Airways declined to comment in detail, saying only that the carrier keeps its “ global operations under constant review” and advising would-be travellers to check the airline’s website for the “latest status” on its flights.

However, BA has since pushed its Hong Kong flights back to December, and also confirmed the November reboot of its London-Bangkok flights has been scuppered. 

“We regularly keep our extensive global network under review, and we’ve taken the decision to extend the suspension of our Bangkok service,” the airline said in statement.

Hong Kong to get “conditional” quarantine-free travel?

Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s health chief suggested that “conditional” quarantine-free travel could be allowed by November, with arrivals subject to PCR testing and prohibited from attending high-risk venues like bars.

The city didn’t need to follow mainland China’s tough Covid-19 policies because it enjoys some degree of freedom under the “one country, two systems” principle, Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said in an interview with The South China Morning Post.

The city is also considering a China-like health code system to manage social distancing. A yellow code will allow people to go to work but prohibit them from high-risk places like aged-care homes or venues where masks are removed.

The Hong Kong government this month suspended the system that banned airlines if they carried too many infected passengers.

It’s also been suggested that once travel between Hong Kong and China resumes, Hong Kong could introduce pre-clearance Chinese customs and immigration facilities to make travel to and from the mainland easier.

The measure, which would permit tavellers from Hong Kong to arrive in China as domestic passengers, is one of several planned to bring the Asian metropolis even closer to the mainland.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 337

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'

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 654

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 429

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 351

Sadly, I cannot see Hong Kong returning to life as we knew it, for a very long time, if ever!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 133

Mind boggling factor is "Why is China and SAR complicating this so much"? They could atleast the transit option open for passengers, so their fear for covid is left at the airport only??

Surely, getting all airport staff on head to toe cover and letting the airlines keep their reputation, bank balance and providing work in that sector??


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