Virgin Australia today launches its inaugural flight between Sydney and Hong Kong, the airline’s second direct service to Hong Kong, and its only to (currently) operate seven days a week.
The flight, which will take off at 10am this morning and land in Hong Kong at 5.40pm local time, will see a number of special treats for its passengers. Australian media personality Dannii Minogue will lead a convoy of drummers and lion dancers through Sydney International airport. Business class guests will enjoy a signature cocktail “The Australian”, courtesy of Virgin Australia’s resident chef Luke Mangan. The cocktail blends a melting pot of Asian flavours; fresh lemongrass and ginger with kaffir lime. All guests were treated to a special Hong Kong inspired ice cream flavour, mango pancake, created by local Australian artisanal ice creamery, Gundowring and were given a special pair of Sydney to Hong Kong branded slippers.
Also on board the flight will be Virgin Australia CEO and Managing Director, John Borghetti A.O, The Hon. Michael McCormack, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Hong Kong Tourism Board Regional Director Andrew Clark.
Ahead of the flight’s departure, Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director, John Borghetti A.O. said, “Today marks an important milestone for Virgin Australia as we launch our second route to Hong Kong, from Sydney.”
“Hong Kong is an important gateway to China, which is Australia’s most valuable and largest inbound tourism market. Through our Hong Kong services and world-class alliance partners, we’re able to capitalise on this growth, which has positive flow on effects to our domestic network and the Australian economy.
“Guests can now travel beyond Hong Kong to 17 destinations within China with Hong Kong Airlines and Hainan Airlines or to London via our codeshare partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Virgin Australia is proud to bring more competition, value and choice to Australians with our new Sydney to Hong Kong daily service.”
He also reaffirmed the airline’s commitment to fly direct to China “as soon as the slots become available”.
This new Virgin Atlantic codeshare partnership will allow guests from Australia and the United Kingdom to travel seamlessly between the two countries with a new connection in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. This now means guests will be able to organise all flights, including connecting flights, under the one booking with a single check-in and baggage drop as well as giving guests travelling from the UK more convenient options about connections to eight cities on Virgin Australia’s domestic network; Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Hon. Michael McCormack congratulated Virgin Australia on its inaugural Sydney to Hong Kong service.
Mr McCormack said Virgin Australia launched its first direct service between Australia and Hong Kong out of Melbourne 12 months ago and today’s announcement improved competition for flight services into the important and growing market.
He said the new route represented a positive outcome for leisure opportunities such as visiting Disneyland or business travel such as to pursue trade between the two destinations, which is also expanding.
“Virgin Australia’s new service will provide even more choice for people travelling between Australia and Hong Kong, whether it be for business or pleasure, as well as to destinations beyond Hong Kong on Virgin Australia’s partner airlines,” he said.
Hong Kong Tourism Board Regional Director Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Andrew Clark said: “Virgin Australia’s increased capacity from Australia demonstrates the strength and appeal of their operations to the Asia region, and will no doubt connect more Australian visitors to Hong Kong and beyond.”
The celebrations won’t be limited to passengers on the inaugural flight either. In celebration of the new service, Virgin’s domestic lounge in Sydney will be serving Hong Kong inspired treats to its guests. Look out for a Dim Sum station between 12pm and 2pm; crispy battered sweet and sour pork and special fried rice between 5.30-7.30pm; daily house baked traditional egg tarts; and a green tea station. This will run from the 2nd to the 6th of July exclusively at the Virgin Australia Sydney Domestic Lounge.
The flight runs daily under call sign VA83 to Hong Kong, and VA82 coming back to Sydney, with departure times of 10am and 750pm respectively; making the return a red eye and the trip up there a day flight. These new flights come in addition to the Melbourne to Hong Kong service, which runs return five days a week (no flights on Wednesdays or Fridays). The flight up there departs Melbourne at 12:30am, and returns at 6.10pm (except on Mondays when it returns to 7.15pm), making both flights overnights.
Sydney Airport’s CEO, Geoff Culbert said: “The new Virgin Australia service is a fantastic example of Sydney’s growing links with Greater China. Last year we saw Hong Kong visitors increase by 17 percent. This additional service is also great news for all the Aussies who love to travel, making the whole Asian region more accessible.”
Virgin Australia operates daily services between Sydney and Hong Kong, utilising its Airbus A330-200 fleet which features 20 award-winning Business Class suites, in ‘The Business’ in a 1-2-1 configuration, as well as 255 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration – with all bulkhead seats given the “Economy X” treatment, providing guests with the same Economy X service as you’ll find on the leg to the USA, including the pair of noise cancelling headphones otherwise reserved for Business Class passengers.
For guests departing Sydney and Melbourne, eligible guests are permitted entry into the Etihad First & Business Class Lounge. In Hong Kong, Business Class guests as well as eligible members of Virgin Australia’s award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer are granted entry into Hong Kong Airline’s Club Autus Lounge located in the Midfield Concourse on Level 7 of Hong Kong International Airport as well as Hainan Airlines’ operated Lounges in Beijing T1, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Urumqi, Taiyuan and Haikou.
The AU Review will be on board the inaugural flight, so stay tuned to the website and our Instagram Channel for more from all the festivities.
Photo: Danni Minogue celebrating Chinese Year of the Dog with Virgin Australia (Provided)