Virgin Atlantic Abandons Hong Kong
Airlines Routes

Virgin Atlantic Abandons Hong Kong

DALLAS – Virgin Atlantic (VS) says it will not return to Hong Kong (HKG) despite the Chinese territory dropping the required quarantine period for tourists.

An airline spokesperson said in a statement, “After careful consideration, we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our London Heathrow – Hong Kong services and close our Hong Kong office, after almost 30 years of proudly serving this Asian hub city.”

The carrier added that the ongoing Russian airspace closure contributed to the decision, which would add a couple of hours to the Hong Kong flights. VS informed that anyone who booked to travel from March 2023, would be offered “a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on an alternative Virgin Atlantic route.”

Virgin Atlantic, which will join SkyTeam in early 2023, had planned to restart its daily London-Hong Kong service in September 2021 on the flagship Airbus A350-1000, but the Asian financial hub remained under lockdown, forcing VS to push back to March 2023.

According to Executive Traveller, the airline will use the previously Hong Kong-designated aircraft to expand frequencies in other major markets beginning with the Summer 2023 timetable.

The popular route to the major Asian hub offered crucial connectivity between the UK and Hong Kong both for customers and worldwide supply networks. Now, it’s up to British Airways (BA) and Cathay Pacific (VX) to offer non-stop flights between both hubs, with BA currently showing a return of its daily BA31/BA32 service in December.

United Airlines N25982 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Luke Ayers/Airways

United Considers Return to Hong Kong


In related news, United Airlines (UA) is said to be planning a return to Hong Kong as soon as January, according to people familiar with the matter, becoming one of a handful of major airlines that would resume passenger flights to the city.

The Chicago-based carrier is considering resuming the service from San Francisco (SFO), this according to chicagobusiness.com, which cites people who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private.

The discussions come after Hong Kong removed obligatory hotel quarantine for inbound guests last month, ending more than two and a half years of restrictions that had left the once-thriving Asian center devoid of tourists.

At the height of the pandemic, obligatory quarantine lasted three weeks, and admission was restricted to Hong Kong residents for an extended period of time.

United halted passenger flights to Hong Kong on February 8, 2020, and has generally flown cargo-only flights in and out of the city thereafter, with the exception of a brief revival in July 2020 that lasted only one day.


Featured image: Virgin Atlantic G-VZIG Boeing 787-9. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

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