Virgin Australia will resume daily flights from Melbourne to Hong Kong from 28 October 2018. This is the same date that Virgin’s partner Hong Kong Airlines will end flights from Gold Coast and Cairns to Hong Kong.
Virgin Australia currently flies every day from Melbourne to Hong Kong using Airbus A330-200s. But Virgin’s Melbourne-Hong Kong schedule will be cut back to 5x weekly from next week, with no flights on Wednesdays or Fridays. This is to make way for the launch of direct, daily Sydney-Hong Kong flights from 2 July. Virgin’s Melbourne-Hong Kong service will also move from a 10am departure to a late-night 0.30am departure from next Monday.
It is understood that airport slot restrictions at Hong Kong Airport have been preventing Virgin Australia from operating daily services on both routes. Perhaps Virgin Australia has now been able to secure a couple of slots previously used by Hong Kong Airlines.
While the 5x weekly service will be in place for the next few months, Virgin Australia will restore daily service to the Melbourne-Hong Kong route from 28 October. The mid-morning 11am departure is also being reinstated, with VA69 scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 5.35pm. The return flight remains an overnight service. VA68 departs Hong Kong at 7.50pm and arrives back in Melbourne at 8.30am the next day.
The Virgin Hong Kong schedule changes have been made in the GDS and affected passengers are being notified.
The improved Hong Kong schedules are a win for Virgin Australia in its fight for a share of the busy Australia-Hong Kong market. The increased competition has already seen a reduction in airfares to Hong Kong.
Qantas currently operates twice-daily from Sydney to Hong Kong and daily from Melbourne and Brisbane to Hong Kong. One of the Sydney-Hong Kong services is typically operated by an A380 or Boeing 747 featuring Premium Economy. However, it seems Qantas is removing Premium Economy from this route from 29 March 2019.
Oneworld’s Cathay Pacific wins hands-down in the frequency battle between Australia and Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific flies 4x daily from Hong Kong to Sydney and 3x daily from Hong Kong to Melbourne. Cathay Pacific also flies from Hong Kong to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Cairns.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: MEL – HKG moves to daily 11am flights