Virgin Australia goes daily on Melbourne-Hong Kong

Virgin Australia goes daily on Melbourne-Hong Kong

Virgin Australia's flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong are ticking up to a daily frequency, giving business travellers more choice and flexibility in planning their trips to the Asian metropolis.

Starting from 12 November 2017, the northbound flight VA87 will leave Melbourne each day – typically at 11am or 11.30am, apart from Friday's 12.40pm departure.

Likewise, VA86 will depart Hong Kong each evening at around 8pm depending on the day, to reach Melbourne around 8am-9am the next morning.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia Melbourne-Hong Kong business class

Earlier this week Virgin's partner Hong Kong Airlines opened its impressive new lounge at the airport's Midfield Concourse, catering for Virgin Australia business class guests along with Velocity Gold and Platinum.

Read: Virgin Australia gets new Hong Kong airport lounge

Having settled into a daily service from Melbourne, Virgin is now reportedly eyeing flights from Sydney or Brisbane to Hong Kong.

As with Melbourne, both routes are dominated by Oneworld members Qantas and Cathay Pacific, which Virgin less as a stumbling block than an opportunity to carve out its own slice of the market.

Flights into mainland China are also on the to-do list, although the airline has yet to indicate which cities in China and Australia would anchor the route.

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.
 

27 comments

  • mviy

    mviy

    7 Sep, 2017 11:16 am

    About time. It would've been better if the flights all left at the same time every day, but this is a step in the right direction.

    Still as a QF member with status I'll probably stick to QF or perhaps CX if going on points.
    Member who gave thanks

    melbtraveler

  • Daniel Siebeck

    effrontery

    7 Sep, 2017 11:21 am

    Hi David, I think you meant to say 'apart from Friday's 12.40pm departure.' According to the timetable the flight leaves at 12:40pm on Fridays.
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    7 Sep, 2017 11:24 am

    It is excellent that they have gone daily.  It makes the route more attractive to business pax as well as indicating that VA are seeing growth on the route.  Do we know how they came about getting the extra slots?
    Member who gave thanks

    melbtraveler

  • FLX

    FLX1

    7 Sep, 2017 05:27 pm

    @reeves35:
    "Do we know how they came about getting the extra slots?"
    I strongly suspect there hv been some <horse-trading> with codeshare partner & 'step-sister' airline HKAir within HNA Group....

    Together with its LCC sister HKXpress, HKAir is no longer a small potato @ HKG these days in terms of slot portfolio size.
    No member give thanks

  • Dave

    Grannular

    7 Sep, 2017 12:09 pm

    Good for them. I may not be Virgin's biggest fan, but I hope to see them be successful on this so they have the confidence and money to branch out to more international destinations. A strong Virgin is good for everyone ultimately
    Member who gave thanks

    melbtraveler

  • Jorge_fly

    Jorge_fly

    7 Sep, 2017 03:43 pm

    It's good to see VA getting consistency right, though it's a shame not seeing night flight leaving Melbourne
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    7 Sep, 2017 06:03 pm

    @Jorge_fly:
    " it's a shame not seeing night flight leaving Melbourne"
    The daily MEL-HKG schedule planned by VA now is actually the most optimal if thinking fm a connectivity maximization  perspective.  Trust me, for a new+small player in the AU-HKG mkt like VA, connectivity can be life or death for survival on that route.  Relying purely on OD pax(i.e. those traveling only between HKG  and MEL) and their timing preference is relatively less important because VA can never compete with OneWorld carriers on that route in terms of frequency...a factor more relevant for OD pax.

    If VA flight leaves MEL very late evening/very early morning, it must arrive HKG in the very early morning, then turn around(VA surely don't want their 332 sitting @ HKG tarmac for too long doing nothing) and depart same morning back to MEL. Such VA rotation into/out of HKG presents @ least 3 op challenges/commercial disadvantages for VA:
    1.  Slots for the morning rush hrs @ HKG are extremely hard to get and too precious even for partner HKAir to share with VA.
    2.  Will depart HKG too early and miss most, if not all, connecting traffic by HNA Group flights arriving HKG in the morning.
    3.  For those who luv to fly with Virgin brands all the way to/fm LHR, totally impractical to connect with VS schedule @ HKG.

    In contrast, the daily rotation planned by VA now for MEL-HKG eliminated all the above issues PLUS no real impact re VA connectivity @ the MEL end.
    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    7 Sep, 2017 04:41 pm

    I'm about to book Mel-HKG on 27th Oct and notice the seating map is showing 2-2 in Business? It is marked as a A330-220. Is it still  'The Business' or do they have rogue A330's without The Business seating?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris_PER

    Chris_PER

    7 Sep, 2017 04:43 pm

    All A330s have 'The Business'.  2x2 is configuration for a 737.
    Member who gave thanks

    billyp1971

  • Craig Peden

    billyp1971

    8 Sep, 2017 09:38 pm

    correct - flew this week. you are fine
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 05:01 pm

    willvill,
    the Oct27 flight out of MEL is going thru Cairns, hence the first sector is a B737 and the business seating is 2x2. CNS-HKG is A330 with 1x2x1. 
    When you book, you will see there are 2 sectors for your seat selection. 
    No member give thanks

  • Craig Peden

    billyp1971

    8 Sep, 2017 09:37 pm

    That's Hong Kong airlines code share. Don't take it. very dissapointing compared to VA
    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    7 Sep, 2017 05:10 pm

    Really...via Cairns....was not aware of that nor does it indicate it anywhere I can see. Also the 2x2 plan has on offer 5 rows. Are there 5 business class rows on their 737's.? (also its 28th not 27th Oct)
    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    7 Sep, 2017 05:12 pm

    It also says on the Virgin website the flight mentioned is Non Stop on a A330-200....
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 05:33 pm

    Did another check for you ....
    Oct27 only showed one flight via Cairns VA1291 connects VA5986 direct to HKG
    Oct28 got 3 flights, one direct VA89 and it's in the A330. Departing at 01:35 arriving 08:15. 
    I went thru to the select seat and it says "Online seat selection unavailable. Seats will be assigned at check in."

    The direct flight MEL-HKG is definitely A330-200. That's the only aircraft that Virgin got for long haul flights more than 5 hours. 
    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    7 Sep, 2017 05:38 pm

    Many thanks KinHo
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    7 Sep, 2017 06:17 pm

    @willvill:
    Because the available flights to HKG fm MEL being sold by VA online also include codeshare on CNS-HKG sector operated by HKAir.  Incidentally, HKAir has also been deploying 330 with 1-2-1 layout in J on the HKG-OOL-CNS-HKG rotation for @ least 1.5yrs....non-daily though.

    I believe whenever U see a flight coded as VA5xxx, it's mostly likely a flight operated by HKAir but also marketed by VA.

    Welcome to the brave new world of codesharing....
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    7 Sep, 2017 06:38 pm

    @KinHo:
    "...went thru to the select seat and it says "Online seat selection unavailable. Seats will be assigned at check in."
    No surprise there whenever we're talking about codesharing flights involving @ least 2 carriers/operators.

    VA and HKAir are cross-selling their flights online @ the most basic tech level in terms of the consumer interface.  However, their online booking systems hv not yet achieved a tech integration level which enable consumers to view+select seat across flights operated by each codeshare partner.  As a result, only check-in agents hv access to the seat maps of both VA and HKAir operated flights.

    By my experience, typically only full partners in any of the 3 global alliances hv achieved that kind of booking systems integration(a super-costly investment skipped by most LCCs) @ the consumer interface level....and neither VA nor HKAir belongs to the Big3 alliances.
    Member who gave thanks

    KinHo

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 06:58 pm

    Thanks FLX1 for the reminder/clarification. I should have realized the flight number format and that it's a codeshare and operated by another airline. Not the usual flight number format of the airline being booked with. 

    Cheers.
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    8 Sep, 2017 12:29 pm

    Oh FLX1 .... I just realized that the "Online seat selection unavailable ..." message came up for the direct MEL-HKG flight. Which would have been Virgin operated. 
    But I suppose it's still up to the airline if they want to open the flight for seat selection. Seems a little unusual tho'. 
    No member give thanks

  • Alex Arora

    Alxarora

    7 Sep, 2017 08:27 pm

    That will be a code share partner not virgin metal
    No member give thanks

  • Kin Ho

    KinHo

    7 Sep, 2017 05:38 pm

    Virgin aircraft seating for business ....
    B737 has 2 rows of 2x2 
    A330 has 5 rows of 1x2x1

    Somehow you seems to be seeing a mixed/crossed information. A good website is seatguru to check out the all airlines seating plan. 
    No member give thanks

  • Dave Hall

    skwashd

    7 Sep, 2017 10:45 pm

    Business Traveller is reporting that HX will launch new services from HKG to LHR, SFO and NYC using their new A350s. I'm sure HX would be happy to take the feeder traffic from VA for that route.
    No member give thanks

  • Graeme Bray

    Livewireshock

    8 Sep, 2017 12:04 pm

    Hainan Airlines will start flying from Brisbane to neighbouring Shenzhen later this month, twice a week. I wonder if Virgin might fill the other days of the week together with the HK Air flights to OOL? 
    No member give thanks

  • Craig Peden

    billyp1971

    8 Sep, 2017 09:41 pm

    avoid Hong Kong airlines at all costs. flew it home from HKG today via Gold Coast on the VA code share. Not even close to being in the same league as VA.
    No member give thanks

  • kel0210

    kel0210

    10 Sep, 2017 09:15 pm

    Just out of curiosity, does VA have a interline agreement or codeshare with VS, because the timing for HKG-LHR/LHR-HKG is coinciding with VA's HKG-MEL/MEL-HKG flight?
    No member give thanks

  • DBPZ

    DBPZ

    12 Sep, 2017 07:35 am

    Don't know why VA doesn't sell connected flights beyond VA87 but HX does (as HX3001).  
    No member give thanks

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20 Jul, 2019 06:04 pm

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