Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Virgin Australia cancels flights to HK 18 months after route launch

Virgin Australia cancels flights to HK 18 months after route launch

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Virgin Australia plane taking off at Sydney Airport. The airline began flying from Sydney to Hong Kong in mid-2018. AFP

Virgin Australia cancels flights to HK 18 months after route launch

Virgin Australia said on Thursday it would scrap flights between Sydney and Hong Kong, just 18 months after launching the route, blaming reduced demand caused by anti-government protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline began flying from Australia’s biggest city to Hong Kong in mid-2018, calling its China expansion a “key pillar” of its international strategy at the time, but now admits the route proved “challenging”.

Virgin Australia Group chief commercial officer John MacLeod said demand had declined following months of sometimes violent protests in Hong Kong that have been followed by the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has spread to the city.

“While the decision to withdraw from the Hong Kong market has been a difficult one, it demonstrates our strong focus on driving greater financial discipline through our network,” he said in a statement.

“Current circumstances demonstrate that Hong Kong is no longer a commercially viable route for Virgin Australia to continue operating, however international tourism remains an important part of our strategy through our other international routes and partner airlines.”

The route will cease operating on March 2.

Australian transport department data shows Virgin’s outbound Sydney-Hong Kong flights were operating at just 64 per cent capacity in November, compared with 80 per cent for Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

The announcement comes as the airlines faces wider financial troubles, posting an underlying before-tax loss of A$71.2 million (US$48.1 million) last year after achieving an underlying profit of A$64.4 million the previous financial year.

Virgin also announced in November it would suspend services between Melbourne and Hong Kong from Tuesday.


  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from