Virgin Australia to launch Sydney-Hong Kong flights mid-2018

By David Flynn, February 28 2018

UPDATE | Virgin Australia's daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong will launch on Monday July 2, 2018, and are now on sale – read our story for full details.

PREVIOUS | Virgin Australia will begin daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong from the middle of 2018.

The flights will run on the airline's  Airbus A330 jets featuring its highly-regarded The Business business class, and follows the launch of Melbourne-Hong Kong in late 2017, although those flights are being trimmed back to five days a week.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia business class, Melbourne to Hong Kong

The service will also offer onwards connections to Virgin Atlantic Airway’s flights to London, offering a new Virginesque spin on the Kangaroo Route – although there's quite some hours to be spent at Hong Kong airport between the late afternoon arrival of the Virgin Australia flight and the near-midnight departure of the Virgin Atlantic flight.

AusBT review: Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 business class, Hong Kong to London

Here is Virgin Australia's Sydney-Hong Kong schedule, for which the airline says tickets will "go on sale soon":

  • VA89 departs Sydney at 10am, arriving into Hong Kong at 5.40pm
  • VA88 departs Hong Kong at 7.50pm, arriving into Sydney at 7.10am the next day

This timetable put the challenger smack against the mid-morning Sydney departures of incumbents Qantas and   Cathay Pacific, both of which are sure to unleash a sharply competitive response to Virgin's arrival on what has to date been almost a monopoly route for the Oneworld airlines.

“The new Sydney-Hong Kong service will link two global destinations and will allow Virgin Australia to further access the fastest growing and most valuable Australian inbound market, China, with our alliance partner Hong Kong Airlines" says Virgin Australia Group CEO, John Borghetti.

Meanwhile, a revised timetable for Melbourne-Hong Kong shows flights being dropped from Wednesdays and Fridays – a move which Borghetti says is related to availability of slots at the busy Hong Kong airport.

"It's purely a slot issue," he said, adding that ticket sales on the service were strong and the route "was performing very well... it's being very strongly supported at both ends."

David
David

David Flynn

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.

plutekplutek

plutekplutek

12 Sep 2017

Total posts 17

So this must mean the final nail in coffin for A330 transcons.

Paully

Paully

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Feb 2015

Total posts 20

Bugger - I love the 330's going to perth each week.

bagpuss

bagpuss

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 20

Not really, this will take up one airframe. Considering that there is one airframe currently out of service for maintenance the current schedules roughly reflect what to expect once the service goes live. Of course, you also have 2 days now where an a330 will be "free'ed up" by the reduced frequency from Melbourne

Tonyfisicaro86

Tonyfisicaro86

01 Apr 2013

Total posts 6

VA should now had code share agreements with VS to have flights to London as arrival and departure times all link together

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1117

Albeit with a long layover.

James Barker

James Barker

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 36

Wow, competition getting really serious now, Virgin isn't mucking about! I hope the market can sustain this added service because with 4 x CX flights and 2 x QF flights, and that including three Cathay Boeing 777-300ERs and a Qantas A380 which is rumoured to become a full-time service, that's a lot of seats!

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 287

Good to see. A strong Virgin is good for everyone. Good to see the same departure and arrival times as well. The Melb service was a bit of a basket case when it was announced.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 510

They seem to have picked up some good slots. I don't know if these are a new allocation or have been transferred from Hong Kong Airlines.

andyf

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 112

What I don't get is why Hong Kong Airlines flies into the Gold Coast rather than say Sydney or Melbourne. I flew in this morning, business class was no more than 1/4 full; economy even less!

Surely the Gold Coast market simply doesn't support the traffic, and combining with Virgin to add some frequency to either Sydney or Melbourne makes more sense?

madge

madge

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Cathay used up all the allocated capacity for HK carriers to Australia.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

@andyf - Hong Kong based carriers have used up all the capacity available to them at Australia's main 4 markets. So they are unable to fly to Syd or Melb

Ceejay

Ceejay

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 6

There is a HK agreement that there is a max capacity of seats they can sell to certain cities. Cathay takes up available seats to Bris, Syd and Mel so they can't fly here

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 96

Great news, hope Virgin does well against the monopoly with QF/CX in partnership.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

CX and QF 'partnership' is hardly strong, if even existent. No codesharing, price setting or coordination. The route has been a duopoly for some time.

DanV

DanV

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 105

QF and CX have been frenemies since the birth of the Oneworld Alliance. They've been hostile enemies before that since the 90s. Even if they were to break the ice and suddenly apply for a JV, regulators on both ends will not likely to approve it.

The most "co-operation" you'll get out of QF and CX is 'bagging interlining' since they are in the same alliance.

StuParr

StuParr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 168

It appears A330 lease agreements are to be announced sometime in the future.

rob01

rob01

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 121

That's a great departure time for the flight up to HK. Will lounge access be the Etihad lounge?

Dc08

Dc08

31 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

Don't know why they don't launch a BNE to HKG, we're crying out for some more capacity to HKG. The two daily Cathay flights are always full.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 510

I'm sure they'd love to but suitable slots are fairly hard to come by. They have to wait until HKIA release new slots which given the clogged runways during peak times are pretty scarce.

PERflyer

PERflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 80

If they wanted to Lift capacity the first thing they could do is upguage to 77W like they have to Syd/Mel.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 96

Think HK airport is heavily slot limited, new entrants need to creep as new slots open and will take a while to fill new routes daily.

Yusef Danet

Yusef Danet

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 75

but MEL-HKG taking a hit. Back to 5 per week with less appealing timeslots.

Packetman21

Packetman21

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

Just another reason to build a proper VA lounge for international customers...

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 510

It would make more sense to co-brand a lounge with EY in both MEL and SYD. The excellent but expensive for the airline EY lounges are under-utilised given EY have only a couple of flights each day. Likewise, it doesn't make sense for VA to operate a dedicated lounge for only a few flights.

Rkwm

Rkwm

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 87

Excellent news . Iam a regular on this route and will most certainly support this competitive move by Virgin. The time slots secured by Virgin are favorable given the limited access in Hong Kong .

I hope nothing but success for Virgin on this popular route.

cssaus

cssaus

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 152

I wonder if VA will be able to sell a code-share flight with VS to LHR via HK?

ryanoleary

ryanoleary

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 11

Have any members here heard (or have inside info) about when these flights will be bookable? How long did Melbourne take from the announcement to being available? Fingers crossed for some decent award availability.

Ceejay

Ceejay

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 6

Last year, mel-hkg started flying in July and was on sale late March. Syd-hkg is expected to fly July this year so assuming final applications and approvals are cleared it should be by the end of March

Rohit

Rohit

06 Jul 2017

Total posts 22

Best piece of news from Virgin stable for a long time. Opens up the possibility of onward connections into rest of Asia, Europe and US big time.

Jorge_fly

Jorge_fly

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Feb 2016

Total posts 37

This is fantastic! Would be awesome for a night flight but hey, just happy to have the opportunity to fly virgin to HK

Spaz

Spaz

05 Aug 2011

Total posts 16

Nice time slots VA let’s see if VA beat QF on prices...

Let the price war begin...

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1372

MEL appears to be overnight in both directions, with substantial downtime in HKG

MEL-HKG VA85 0030/0810 - Mon, Tues, Thu, Sat, Sun

HKG-MEL VA84 1810/0540 (+1) - Tues, Thu, Sat, Sun

HKG-MEL VA84 1915/0645 (+1) - Mon

FLX

FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

@moa999:

The revised MEL-HKG schedule clearly scream connection opportunities @ MEL and more importantly, considering the growth rate of China-origin traffic heading to AU these days, @ HKG with a wide array of sister carrier routes by HNA group.

puppy79

puppy79

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

about time too.While I do not agree with the scheduling coming home It is pretty good on the way up.What I plan to do for Hong Kong in the future is Adelaide-Sydney-Hong Kong on Virgin Australia but coming home if it is available get on the direct Cathay Pacific nonstop as I am frequent flyers in both Virgin Velocity and Qantas Frequent Flyer.We have not had a third operator direct on that sector since Virgin Atlantic and way before that Ansett Australia for a long time.

Zac

Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Great news, well done Virgin. I like Cathay but I'll support this route on Virgin.

JTSkip

JTSkip

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Dec 2014

Total posts 1

If They drop the 330-200 to Perth which has the best Business Class I will have to move back to Qantas

Luke49

Luke49

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 Aug 2017

Total posts 17

Regarding Melbourne flights. Leaving MEL at 0030 and arriving MEL at 0540. I’d say this change is so an A330 can still run domestically in daytime.

CityRail

CityRail

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 92

I am glad that Virgin finally launches SYD-HKG at last. The timing for the flight is excellent as well.

Moreover, if Sydneysiders need to arrive Hong Kong early, they can go via Melbourne which their luggage can check thru - no worries.

Despite that, I have requests that I hope @ChrisCh can communicate to Virgin about:

1. I really hope the new service will start no later than mid-June. There are many Uni students in Sydney who need this service to go back to HK/Asia after the semester ends in June. So to not miss the great opportunity to market across unis and boost patronage.

2. I hope Virgin will start installing WiFi on A332 soon. Allowing WiFi on board will attract business customers to switch from Qantas early.

3. Virgin should investigate installing Premium Economy on A332s to replace Economy X. If Qantas can afford to install PEY on B789 to Perth, so should Virgin Australia. And installing PEY will lure high yield pax to switch airlines.

yewengng

yewengng

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Dec 2017

Total posts 1

Any news on which lounge VA Gold/Plat members will get in Sydney on these flights?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2321

Not as yet, rest assured that when we have that news we will publish it.

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