Due to the closure of Russian airspace, Virgin Atlantic will no longer be continuing flights between London Heathrow (LHR) to Hong Kong (HGK).
The route was suspended in December 2021 with plans to be resumed in March 2023.
Virgin Atlantic said that “after almost 30 years of proudly serving this Asian hub city” that it was a “difficult decision” to make but was made to free up capacity for other destinations in summer 2023.
A statement was released by Virgin Atlantic on 5 October providing clarification on the closure of the route.
“Significant operational complexities due to the ongoing Russian airspace closure have contributed to the commercial decision not to resume flights in March 2023 as planned, which have already been paused since December 2021,” the statement read.
Virgin Atlantic also plans to close its Hong Kong office as part of the decision not to resume the route. The choice comes after Hong Kong had the strictest COVID-19 travel policies with hotel quarantine ending only last month, resulting in the near collapse of a number of their carriers, particularly Cathay Pacific.
Virgin Australia ended their Melbourne to Hong Kong and Sydney to Hong Kong services in 2019, significantly reducing the number of passengers using Hong Kong as a stopover to London. This was a further reason that prompted Virgin Atlantic’s decision to close the Hong Kong office.
“Our people and customers in Hong Kong have been amazing since we first touched down at the famous Kai Tak Airport in 1994 and since then we’ve provided important connectivity between the UK and Hong Kong for thousands of customers and supported global supply chains through our cargo operations,” Virgin Atlantic said.
This decision will leave British Airways and Cathay Pacific as the only airlines offering a non-stop service between London and Hong Kong. British Airways is currently planning to restart its daily BA31/BA32 service in December.