Hong Kong Airlines axes Gold Coast, Cairns flights

Hong Kong Airlines axes Gold Coast, Cairns flights

Hong Kong Airlines is pulling out of the Australian market with the axing of its flights to the Gold Coast and Cairns.

The Virgin Australia partner airline has confirmed those flights will end on 28 October 2018 "due to its changing business strategy in the Australian market."

Hong Kong Airlines flew to the Gold Coast just three times a week, and with flights going via Cairns it wasn't a direct service, although the low fares – as little as $1,880 for a business class return fare during sale periods – were appealing to business travellers on a budget.

AusBT review: Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A330 business class, Gold Coast-Cairns-Hong Kong

In a statement announcing the closure, Hong Kong Airlines says that "alternative travel arrangements will be offered to passengers who are already booked on Hong Kong Airlines flights to and from Gold Coast and Cairns after the service ends."

This includes free date changes to travel before October 28, free transfer to Gold Coast and Cairns flights operated by Virgin Australia or Hainan Airlines, and full refunds.

Hong Kong Airlines currently codeshares on Virgin Australia's Melbourne-Hong Kong route and will also do so when Virgin's new daily Sydney-Hong Kong service launches on July 2, 2018.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • JBL


    3 Jun, 2018 12:22 pm

    Changing strategy? Does this mean VA might fill in the gap from BNE?
    Member who gave thanks


  • Matt Stevenson


    3 Jun, 2018 12:42 pm

    If VA had some planes to do this, I guess they might. Somehow think they're getting a bit short on aircraft now though in addition to Sydney and Melbourne to HK.
    No member give thanks

  • JBL


    3 Jun, 2018 02:36 pm

    They'll just take another A330 off transcon. I hope they're not far off the new 737 business because transcon is getting more and more narrow body
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    3 Jun, 2018 02:21 pm

    Also I don't think VA is allowed to fly to HKG at this stage. The number of pax between Aus and HKG is maxed out that's why Hong Kong Air had to fly to GC instead of BNE.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    3 Jun, 2018 02:22 pm

    I meant VA not allowed to fly BNE-HKG
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  • Dan


    3 Jun, 2018 02:25 pm

    @Michael Kao. The bilateral on the Australian end is not maxed out which is why VA is flying from MEL and SYD to HKG on behalf of HX.

    It's only maxed on the HKG end which is why HX's parent bought into VA to get Oz rights.

    VA replacing HX's OOL-CNS-HKG with BNE-HKG isn't a impossible task, the only issues are slots in HKG (They could probably replace the current slots used for OOL-CNS-HKG with VA's BNE-HKG instead).

    Member who gave thanks


  • chanvw


    4 Jun, 2018 06:00 am

    +1 to DanV.

    As far as I know, Australia and HK have 70 "frequencies" per week that they can allocate to their airlines for routes between HKG and SYD/MEL/BNE/PER (other Australian airports are not counted within this cap, e.g. the flights to OOL/CNS/ADL).

    Cathay has used all 70 of the Hong Kong allocations (which is partially why they are upgauging their planes, as that is the only way to increase capacity on their end):
    - 30 weekly (4+ daily) to SYD
    - 21 weekly (3 daily) to MEL
    - 10 weekly (1 daily non-stop, plus 3 weekly sometimes via CNS, sometimes non-stop) to BNE
    - 9 weekly (1 daily, plus 2 weekly) to PER

    Australia has only used ~40 of the 70 frequencies:
    - QF has 28 frequencies (2 daily to SYD, 1 daily each to MEL and BNE)
    - VA will have 12 frequencies (daily to SYD, 5 weekly to MEL)

    So VA should be able to launch BNE-HKG (or PER-HKG I guess) from this point of view. However, as DanV noted, the slots are the constraining factor. If VA are able to use them), the HX slots are evening arrival and evening departure from HKG, which would allow VA to match most of their AU flights.
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  • afloskar


    4 Jun, 2018 10:53 am

    Brisbane is 11x weekly with CX
    Perth is 10x weekly with CX
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  • frank lanzo


    3 Jun, 2018 10:05 pm

    They were stupid by not flying hk cairns then gold coast.doomed before they started.cathy watches then come and go amazing how dumb some ceos are
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  • mickeyg


    3 Jun, 2018 10:07 pm

    Could be a strategic move by HX to allow VA to grab HKG slots for direct BNE flights.
    No member give thanks

  • rRamjet


    4 Jun, 2018 08:23 am

    Bummer. Family of 5 booked in Jan 2019 OOL - CNS - HKG - YVR - YKA. I wonder what our options will be. Time to put Flight Centre on the job I guess.
    No member give thanks

  • gazzax2


    4 Jun, 2018 02:52 pm

    Shame, now I won't be able to fly from my local OOL.
    No member give thanks


20 Jun, 2019 11:42 pm


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