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Virgin’s new Hong Kong service ‘renews competition’

July 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The launch of Virgin Australia’s direct route into Hong Kong from Melbourne yesterday has drawn praise from the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), which welcomed “renewed competition and extra capacity” on a new route that will add 71,500 additional seats to Hong Kong each year.

Virgin Australia is operating five return services a week between the two cities, using Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Hong Kong has already seen an increase in seats from Australia of 5.3% year-on-year, as of January 2017, due to extra volume across Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Hong Kong Airlines in 2016.

“Hong Kong’s status as a key hub for international visitors has been made stronger today by the launch of Virgin Australia’s new flight from Melbourne,” said HKTB regional director, Andrew Clark.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had solid competition on this route and we anticipate strong lead-in fares across all airlines off the back of it. A third major airline for Hong Kong opens up a great deal of opportunity to boost Australian arrivals into Hong Kong and onwards to wider parts of Asia through Virgin Australia’s alliance with the HNA Group, including Hong Kong Airlines.”

Virgin Australia A300-200

Last year, Hong Kong received almost 576,000 visitors from Australia (26% from Victoria) who spent, on average, a total of HKD 3.9 billion (about AUS 662 million) from January to December 2016. The HKTB expects these numbers to increase in 2017.

“Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world and it’s no surprise given half the world’s population is within five hours’ flight time,” Clarke said.  “The city is extremely accessible with a world-class rail system and express link from the airport; it’s one of the safest cities in the world, the dining scene is outstanding and there’s so much to uncover, from local culture to hiking across its many islands and beaches.”

Hong Kong International Airport is planning expansion to keep pace with demand which will see the development of a third runway, due for completion in 2024.

Hong Kong Macao Sea Bridge under construction and set to open next year

Additionally, better transport links from Hong Kong to mainland China will ease access. The world’s largest sea bridge will link Hong Kong to Macau onwards to Zhuhai on the mainland and a new high-speed rail network will connect Hong Kong to Guangzhou in one hour. That’s scheduled to open in late 2018 with plans for future high-speed connections to Shanghai and Beijing.

The opening of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in 2013, positioned at the former airport runway, has cemented further growth opportunities for Hong Kong as a cruise hub and the city currently has approximately 44 new confirmed hotel projects underway through 2017-2019, offering a variety of accommodation options from budget, boutique to luxury.

“This is a really exciting time for Hong Kong; the city is seeing a resurgence in contemporary art, culture and history bringing local neighbourhoods to life.  The food scene is booming, housing top chefs from around the world, including Australia. And now, with the prospect of better value airfares from Australia, there’s never been a better time to go,” Clark said.

Edited by Peter Needham

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