Virgin Atlantic Cuts Hong Kong From Network

Credit: Heorshe / Alamy Stock Photo

Virgin Atlantic is permanently suspending its London Heathrow (LHR)-Hong Kong (HKG) route, dropping Hong Kong from its network after flying to the city for nearly 30 years.

Virgin has not served HKG since December 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong’s strict entry policies, which until Sept. 26 included mandatory hotel quarantines, but had planned to resume the LHR-HKG route in March 2023.

“After careful consideration, we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our London Heathrow-Hong Kong services and close our Hong Kong office,” Virgin said in an Oct. 5 statement. The airline cited “significant operational complexities” related to the closure of Russian airspace as a major driver behind the decision.

HKG’s status as a major air hub has been questioned, with IATA DG Willie Walsh saying last month it “will take some time for Hong Kong to recover.” He added that, even as restrictions are lifted, airlines will be reluctant to add significant capacity back to HKG until they are convinced the tight entry rules will not be reimposed.

Virgin last month announced plans to join SkyTeam.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.