Virgin Australia will commence its second route to Hong Kong in mid-2018. The new Virgin Australia Sydney-Hong Kong flights will operate daily using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Virgin’s A330s feature 20 comfortable lie-flat Business class seats, each with direct aisle access, and 255 Economy seats.
The Virgin Australia Sydney-Hong Kong schedule mirrors existing Qantas and Cathay Pacific flights. The new VA89 service will depart Sydney daily at 10am, arriving at 5.40pm. The return VA88 leaves Hong Kong at 7.50pm for a 7.10am arrival the next morning.
To accommodate the new flights, Virgin’s existing Melbourne-Hong Kong flights will be re-timed. Losing its mid-morning departure, the Melbourne-Hong Kong service will be changed to a redeye departing just after midnight. The return service from Hong Kong to Melbourne will remain an overnight flight but depart Hong Kong a little earlier – at either 6.10pm or 7.15pm, depending on the day of the week. Virgin’s Melbourne-Hong Kong flight will also no longer operate on Wednesdays or Fridays.
Onward connections beyond Hong Kong will be available on Virgin’s partner Hong Kong Airlines. Hopefully Velocity has now resolved some of the issues that plagued the Hong Kong Airlines alliance following its launch last year.
The Virgin Australia Sydney-Hong Kong flights are also timed to meet Virgin Atlantic’s service between Hong Kong and London. This creates another convenient one-stop option to London using Virgin and its partner airlines. Virgin’s partners Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways already offer one-stop service from major Australian cities to London.
Nice to have another Velocity earning option for our next London trip whenever that is, or for a China trip.
The new Melbourne-Hong Kong schedule, while inefficient, is a result of the limited availability of slots at Hong Kong Airport.
Why would they leave an A330 on the ground for 10 hours doing nothing? I presume it is slot related, but wow that is sacrificing an A330 out of the equation for an entire day.
Sydney-Hong Kong is Virgin Australia’s second permanent international route to use Airbus A330s. With just 6 of these aircraft in Virgin’s fleet, some members fear this will result in fewer A330s and more Boeing 737s on domestic trans-continental routes. But others believe the impact to domestic services will be minimal.
SYD-HKG means another 332 will leave the domestic fleet unfortunately.
Considering that there is currently one air frame out of service for maintenance, and the new service will take one airframe expect the a330’s domestic schedules to be roughly the same as “today”. Though with the reduction of services from Melbourne to Hong Kong there’s domestic capacity there. As always, a330 domestic services started with 2 airframes and that was kinda of adequate. I expect them to try and keep 2 or 3 domestically dependent on the day of the week.
Tickets are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: VA to begin SYD-HKG daily