Having secured the Melbourne-Hong Kong route, Virgin Group's Head, Sir Richard Branson wants to see his Australian outpost expand even further into Asia with plans for Virgin Australia to fly from both Sydney and Brisbane to Hong Kong.
"We have to get into Hong Kong and that's tough – and that's being worked on – so we obviously have applied for 21 new slots in Hong Kong which would hopefully cover Sydney and Brisbane... we would hope to get enough slots to get that up and running," Branson said.
Virgin Australia has redesigned its international network to focus primarily on the USA, with flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Los Angeles – and now Melbourne into Hong Kong.
From this month, Virgin Australia is flying their Airbus A330 aircraft five days a week between Melbourne and Hong Kong. This is a bit of a coup as this route until recently has been within the Oneworld stronghold.
Virgin CEO, John Borghetti has stated that including the Melbourne-Hong Kong route in the Virgin Australia portfolio has enabled some healthy competition as Oneworld member Cathay, with three flights daily had the market well and truly sewn up.
"This is a route that's dominated by one airline, and as good as they are, a bit of competition doesn't hurt... so if we can get to seven flights each week, which is what Qantas has got, then that's a pretty good position."
"Then, depending on how many more we get, we'll look at Sydney and Brisbane."
Virgin also intends to launch a second series of flights between Mainland China and Australia later this year.
This bodes well for Aussie business travellers and Velocity members who will hopefully hear more on Virgin’s Asian expansion in the near future.
Image courtesy of Getty.