Virgin Atlantic A340-600

Australia’s inbound tourism sector is facing a significant impact in May with Virgin Atlantic dropping flights from Hong Kong to Sydney.

Overnight (Feb 4), Virgin Atlantic blamed increasing costs and a challenging economic environment for the move, which the airline said “have affected revenues and the route is no longer considered profitable”.

“Unfortunately we intend to withdraw our services between Sydney and Hong Kong,” Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, Craig Keeger, said.

“Despite the best efforts of our employees, external factors such as increasing costs and a weakening Australian dollar have affected our profitability.

“These are still difficult times for the airline industry and as part of our strategy to operate more efficiently, we need to deploy our aircraft to routes with the right level of demand to be financially viable.”

It is Virgin Atlantic’s intention that the last flight departing Sydney to Hong Kong will be on 5 May 2014 and the last flight departing Hong Kong to Sydney will be on 4 May 2014.

A TTF spokesperson told HM it’s “disappointing to lose the service… any loss of capacity is regrettable”.

“Arrivals to Australia from HKG is growing at 9.6% for the year ending November and we hope the capacity is picked up by other carriers,” the spokesperson said.

Flights between London and Hong Kong will remain in place.

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