Virgin Atlantic Airways is lobbying the British Labour Government to help it win rights to fly from Hong Kong to Sydney, Australia when the UK and Hong Kong meet for Open Skies talks later this year.
Winning the rights to fly from HKG to SYD would mean that VS would break the dominance of 1world on the Kangaroo route via HKG Chep Lap Kok.
Virgin Blue would also obviously benefit from more potential revenue from €urope.
Barry Humphreys, director of external affairs and route development for VS, said it is still too early to determine when the new service will commence. British Airways can only service Australia from HKG by codesharing with CX and QF. QF uses BKK and Singapore Changi Airport as it's hubs.
Mr. Humphreys thinks that the HK Government would allow the 5th Freedom Rights as there is decreased competition along the HKG - Australia route. "In the past we asked to be allowed to code-share with Ansett through Hong Kong. But now that Ansett is no longer, we have to find another way to operate [those services]," he said.
New Zealand also has recently signed a new Open Skies deal with Hong Kong, "New Zealand got a very favourable agreement, so the situation is liberalising . . . We are hopeful for the opportunity."
Virgin Atlantic has 5th Freedom Rights through Singapore (shame the Labour Government can't reciprocate), but there would be an overlap with Singapore Airlines, "Singapore Airlines already goes . . . between Sydney and London, so what would we add to them by operating the same route?" Mr Humphreys said.
Singapore Airlines Limited owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited as the article states.
The full article can be read from the South China Morning Post via Aeroworld.net
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