Virgin Atlantic drops Hong Kong in Russian airspace issues

Virgin Atlantic drops Hong Kong in Russian airspace issues
FILE PHOTO: A British airways aeroplane tailfin and a Virgin Atlantic areoplane are seen with the control tower at Heathrow airport., London, Britain, May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Hong Kong has seen a slew of travel changes lately, having dropped all hotel quarantine restrictions for arrivals less than two weeks ago. For the most part, this has been good news for the travel industry. Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council expects outbound travel to boost as much as 50% in the coming months.

But now, something else is getting in the way of travel in and out of Hong Kong: Russia. Yesterday, British airline Virgin Atlantic announced it’s stopping operations in Hong Kong because of complications caused by the closure of Russian airspace. At the moment, it looks like that airspace is going to remain closed; no one can predict if or when commercial flights will be allowed to go through. So, Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong office is closing after about 30 years in the city, and its regular route from London to Hong Kong will no longer exist. Virgin did say it still intends to resume flights to Shanghai.

Key comments:

“After careful consideration, we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our London Heathrow – Hong Kong services and close our Hong Kong office, after almost 30 years of proudly serving this Asian hub city," a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said.

“We’re constantly reviewing the performance of our network and as part of our long term strategy of being sustainably profitable. We’re committed to only flying profitable routes," the airline said in a memo to corporate customers.