Virgin Australia has announced it will commence direct flights to Hong Kong and Mainland China as part of an alliance agreement with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express.
Subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approval, Virgin will launch services between Australia and HK in mid-2017, with flights to Mainland China to begin in latter stages of the agreement.
Under the deal, the airlines plan to codeshare on each other’s international and domestic networks, as well as co-operate on route planning, sales ad marketing, lounge access and all-important frequent flyer reciprocity.
VA will utilise its Airbus A330 on the HK route, with further details, including departure port/s in Australia, schedule and pricing, to be released in coming months.
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti called the deal a “game changer” for travel between Australia and China, “providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers”.
“The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market,” he said.
“Importantly, this strategic alliance with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express is a key plank in Virgin Australia’s International strategy and will help our business deliver long-term growth and success.”
Flying nearly 100 million passengers a year, HNA Aviation is affiliated with several Chinese carriers including Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines, all of whom will be linked with Virgin Australia under the deal.