Virgin Australia has its sights firmly set on a share of the growing number of Chinese visitors Down Under as it launches its first flights into Greater China from July 2017 with non-stop services from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

Virgin Australia will operate five return services per week between the two cities, using dual aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft. In the meantime, Cathay Pacific (three daily flights) and Qantas (daily) are the only two airlines currently offering non-stop flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong.

The route announcement follows the draft approval of Virgin Australia’s proposed alliance with China’s HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, which was approved by the ACCC. That arrangement allows Virgin Australia customers to connect via HKG to 13 destinations in mainland China, while guests from Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will be able to connect onto Virgin’s Australian and trans-Tasman network.

The new flights, operating each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, are on sale.

Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330-200 fleet features the airline’s award-winning Business Class suites, The Business, which was recently dubbed as the world’s best Business Class by Airline Ratings, as well as 255 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.

“Virgin Australia’s entry into Hong Kong and Greater China is a key pillar of our international strategy, allowing us to tap into Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market,” said John Borghetti, Virgin Australia Group CEO.

“We look forward to showcasing this great city to inbound visitors from Hong Kong and beyond … the Virgin Australia livery flying to Hong Kong for the first time is an exciting development and with it brings the style and sophistication that is synonymous with our brand.

“Travellers to and from Hong Kong will be able to fly in the world’s best business class and dine on a restaurant-in-the-sky experience designed by resident chef Luke Mangan. Coupled with service delivered by the world’s best cabin crew, we know guests travelling on this route from July will appreciate the effortless luxury that comes with Virgin Australia,” Mr Borghetti added.

Velocity Frequent Flyer members will be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits on these flights, while details of reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access will be announced at a later date together with codeshare arrangements.

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