Aviation

Virgin goes bonkers for Honkers with flight launch

Virgin Australia has lifted the lid and unveiled details of its alliance agreement with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, with the awesome foursome handing in their application for authorisation of the proposed alliance to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Provided they secure approval, the airlines plan to:

  • Introduce new direct services between Australia and the Hong Kong, as well as Australia and The People’s Republic of China (mainland China) operated by Virgin Australia;
  • Codeshare on each other’s flights between Australia and Hong Kong, between Australia and mainland China and on each other’s domestic networks; and
  • Co-operate in relation to route planning, sales, distribution and marketing, frequent flyer programs, lounge access and other activities.

As part of the first stage of the alliance, Virgin Australia has revealed it plans to introduce flights between Australia and Hong Kong as early as mid-2017, with the airlines going after interim authorisation so these services can kick off, alongside the codeshare arrangements.

Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said, “This new alliance will be a game changer for travel between Australia and China, providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers.

“We are excited about introducing direct Virgin Australia flights – and our famous customer service – to Hong Kong, together with access to destinations across China.

“The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market.

“HNA Aviation fly nearly 100 million passengers each year and we look forward to working collaboratively with them to drive inbound visitation to Australia, resulting in significant benefits for the Australian tourism industry and broader economy.

“Importantly, this strategic alliance with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express is a key plank in Virgin Australia’s International strategy and will help our business deliver long-term growth and success.”

Ok, so let’s break it down a bit more:

Direct services

Virgin Australia services to Hong Kong will be operated using Airbus A330 aircraft, which feature the airline’s Business Class, ‘The Business’. The alliance will offer guests on these services onward connections to destinations in mainland China on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines.

Further details on everything from schedules and pricing will be released provided they get the green light from the ACCC. Virgin Australia also plans to introduce direct flights between Australia and mainland China in further stages of the agreement.

Codeshare services

Subject to regulatory approval, Virgin Australia will implement codeshare (VA*) on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and other HNA Aviation airlines on journeys between Australia and mainland China and between Australia and Hong Kong.

Customers of Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will be able to book travel on Virgin Australia’s domestic and trans-Tasman network.

Loyalty program benefits

Velocity Frequent Flyer’s seven million members will also – should the airline get the go ahead – nab a frequent flyer partnership with Fortune Wings Club, including:

  • The opportunity to earn Points and Status Credits on alliance routes; and
  • Reciprocal access to tier status benefits including lounge access, priority check-in, priority boarding and additional baggage allowances.

Further details of the frequent flyer partnership will be released in coming months. Stay tuned.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Destinations

10 bucket list-worthy places for every traveller type

by Sophie Harrison

We had Surfers Paradise Wax Museum atop our bucket list, but have since replaced it with the Trash Museum in Connecticut.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

The Big Fat Airline Wrap

It’s the very best of airline news rounded up in one place. And if you want to know why there’s a picture of canoes instead of planes you’ll have to click on the article.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Virgin Holidays leads by example in sealife tourism

by Hannah Edensor

Virgin Holidays continues to protest animals in captivity, and we’re totally on board if you don’t count the rat we trapped in our kitchen last night.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel’s pay gap between men and women bigger than ever

by Hannah Edensor

Do you have a sneaking suspicion your male counterpart earns more than you? Like a lot more? Confirm your hunch with this shocking news.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Agents Continue to send clients to Hawai’i

by Amy Bryant

Aussies’ love affair with Hawai’i continues to grow. That’s not to suggest there’s any extramarital shenanigans going on, however.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Golfing tourists in tragic crash near Essendon Airport

by Hannah Edensor

Tragedy strikes Essendon Airport this morning after a charter flight carrying golfers to King Island crashed into shops shortly after take-off.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Win a luxe Vanuatu holiday for two

Did you miss yesterday’s story on how to win a luxury trip to Vanuatu? We hit CTRL-A, CTRL-C and voila – here it is again!

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Get a look at Azamara’s new ship arriving in Melbourne

Azamara sounds like a spell out of Harry Potter, but instead it’s the proud parents of Azamara Journey, the ship making her first trip down under.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel agent completes $15,000 bookings while in labour

by Hannah Edensor

We’ve never given birth ourselves but if the movies are anything to go by, we should be shouting ‘Give me my epidural’, not ‘How much for a room?’

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Ormina Tours Redefines the Small Group Travel Experience

by Amy Bryant

Thesmall group itineraries are intimate and uniquely designed. But if its not for you, private journeys are tailor-made exactly to your interests, providing a personalised luxury European experience.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

What will happen when millenials start river cruising?

by Tara Harrison

Uniworld’s new millennial product promises it won’t be a booze cruise, leaving us no choice but to withdraw our booking.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

It’s The Big Fat Wholesaler Wrap

by Amy Bryant

This very detailed and insightful wrap up of wholesaler news is A+. Well, that’s the feedback anyway, we haven’t read it yet.

Share

CommentComments