News today has confirmed what had long been speculated about, regarding the new destination for Virgin Australia.
Hong Kong is on the menu, and CEO John Borghetti wants to break into the market that's currently, and very firmly held by Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
Commencing July 5th, VA will fly to HKG from the Victorian Capital 5 x per week, But here's where thing's get a little strange.... and it has to do with the choice of timetable.
VA87 MEL-HKG departs Monday 10:25am, arriving in HKG 18:05pm
VA87 MEL-HKG departs Wednesday 9:40am, arriving HKG 17:20pm
VA89 MEL-HKG departs Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 00:35am (yes thats right, 35 minutes past midnight), arriving HKG 8:15am
VA86 HKG-MEL departs 19:50pm, arriving MEL 7:20am the following morning.
It's an odd schedule to say the least - But slots in with its part owners HNA Group services operated by Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines for flights onwards and into mainland China.
A330 metal has been assigned to this service by Virgin Australia, which is a natural choice since pulling out of the planned Perth to Abu Dhabi service recently. VA hope to lure customers away from QF and CX with their schedule, and relatively new aircraft interiors.
Cathay Pacific have risen to the challenge this week by increasing it's use of the A350XWB to 2 x Daily into Melbourne, whilst Qantas has been operating the much older B747 on the route, they are now settling into the A330 to compete for the J Class clients.
The one shift that has to occur for Virgin Australia to make this work, is the re-assignment of one of it's A330's from the BNE-PER route, which will now return to B737 metal.