Virgin won't be returning to Hong Kong until next year (image courtesy Shutterstock).
Virgin Atlantic will not be restarting services with Hong Kong until next spring, despite Hong Kong loosening its travel restrictions this month.
According to the UK-based airline, technicalities affecting the route mean it will not be bringing forward this date.
“Due to ongoing operational complexities on our London to Hong Kong route, we have taken the careful decision to extend our pause in operations,” said a spokesperson, adding that the carrier hopes to resume its London to Hong Kong route from March 26 next year.
Virgin Atlantic temporarily suspended its Hong Kong service in December last year as omicron spread around the world. And in January, Hong Kong government imposed a ban on flights from the UK which was not lifted until the spring. Virgin's cargo service with Hong Kong was also paused.
According to Virgin, carriers operating Hong Kong routes have continued to have a challenging year. In July, Hong Kong implemented a flight suspension mechanism whereby individual flights were banned from operating if they brought in more than a set number of infected passengers. And from September, Russian airspace closed, adding around an hour to the Heathrow to Hong Kong route and almost two hours to the return service.
However, Virgin says it looks forward to eventually returning to Hong Kong. Customers due to travel between September 2022 and March 26, 2023 will be contacted shortly by the airline. Options will include rebooking at a later date, converting bookings into a voucher or requesting a refund.
“Our Hong Kong customers are important to us and we look forward to returning to the skies with them next year,” said the spokesperson.
More Hong Kong travel information
The UK flag carrier says it will be back in the Asian hub this winter.
The city has finally loosened its tough entrance restrictions.