Virgin Australia’s Hong Kong service has become the latest victim of coronavirus, as the outbreak, coupled with ongoing civil unrest, has forced the airline to withdraw from the route.
The coronavirus outbreak has proven to be the final straw for Virgin Australia’s struggling Hong Kong services, with the airline announcing it will withdraw from the route altogether next month.
The carrier’s Melbourne-Hong Kong service was already scheduled to finish next week on February 11, but Virgin Australia had hoped to continue operating between Sydney and Hong Kong.
However the ongoing civil unrest in the territory, coupled with the coronavirus outbreak, have convinced Virgin Australia to stop all services to Hong Kong from March 2.
Group chief commercial officer John McLeod said the decision followed a comprehensive review of the route which had continued to be a “challenging market”.
“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,” Mr McLeod said.
“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.”
Virgin Australia launched its first Hong Kong services from Melbourne in 2017, and added daily flights from Sydney in 2018, competing with Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
Load factors proved problematic however, with the most recent data available showing more than a third of seats empty on inbound flights and almost a third vacant outbound.
Anyone with a booking to Hong Kong after March 2 would be contacted by the airline to make alternative arrangements.