Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it is to launch daily scheduled services between London and Sydney via Hong Kong. The service will be operated by an Airbus A340-600 aircraft and will commence on 7 December this year. The A340-600 is the longest plane in the world and in future years this will be replaced on the route by the Airbus A380, the biggest plane in the world.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic said:
“I am delighted that Virgin Atlantic is now able to offer flights to Australia - everyone at Virgin has long wished for us to operate to Australia and today’s announcement really is a dream come true. Australians have also been waiting for many years for the BA-Qantas duopoly to be broken and for new competition to be introduced.
“Today’s announcement is another major landmark in Virgin Atlantic’s development. Sydney is a prestigious route and will become our 23rd destination. Tomorrow is also the 20th anniversary of our very first flight from Gatwick to Newark in 1984. Australia is a country that everyone at Virgin has been hoping to fly to from those early days and the news that our ambitions have become a reality will really add to our celebrations!
“I am grateful to the British and Hong Kong governments who have brokered this pro-competition deal that enables us to launch these new services. I’d also like to thank the Honourable Joe Hockey, Australia’s Minister for Tourism, for all his help and support.
“Virgin Atlantic’s new services on the kangaroo route will be good news for consumers in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia, as it will mean that much needed competition and choice is brought to these markets. I am sure that Virgin’s award winning service and innovative products will be well received both in the UK-Australia and Hong Kong-Australia markets.”
Mackenzie Grant, Head of Asia Pacific for Virgin Atlantic Airways, said:
“I would like to thank all the government and airport agencies in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK who helped us fulfil our dream to operate to Australia and I am particularly pleased that we will be able to offer our award winning service on this route. We will offer Virgin’s new Upper Class suite which consists of a reclining leather seat for take off, a place to sit and eat a meal opposite your partner, the biggest fully flat bed in business class with a proper mattress for sleeping on, a private onboard bar to drink at with your friends and an inflight beauty treatment area. Also included in the price of a Virgin Upper Class ticket are four chauffeur driven journeys to and from the airport at both ends of the route.”
Tickets will go on sale for the new services later in the summer. Details of introductory promotional offers will also be announced at that time.
Sydney will bring the total number of destinations served by Virgin Atlantic to 23. In addition to this route, Virgin recently announced that it is due to launch a number of new routes including Cuba and The Bahamas and an increase in services to the US, Caribbean, Asia and the Far East.