Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. will not resume flights to Hong Kong until at least September, although the Asian financial hub has relaxed Covid-19 related rules for airlines and travellers.
Although a ban on inbound flights from nine countries, including the UK and the US, was lifted on April 1 after nearly three months, major overseas carriers have not rushed to return. UK-based Virgin Atlantic is one of the first carriers in these regions to explicitly state its position.
“To ensure the operational readiness of our London Heathrow-Hong Kong passenger services, we have taken the prudent decision to extend the pause in operations, with the intention of resuming services from September 2022,” Virgin said in a statement. sent by email.
British Airways Plc responded to customers on Twitter to say its flights to Hong Kong will not return until at least May 28. United Airlines Holdings Inc. has only been selling tickets for nonstop services between San Francisco and Hong Kong since the beginning of July.
Further, Qantas Airways Ltd. is selling tickets for Sydney-Hong Kong from October 30, according to an availability check of its online ticket sales.
Virgin suspended flights to and from Hong Kong at the end of December. The carrier also suspended cargo-only flights.
Foreign carriers are also navigating route ban rules that could see inbound flights suspended for a week if they carry three or more Covid-infected passengers to Hong Kong. Emirates has served six such bans this year – its Dubai-Bangkok-Hong Kong service was suspended for a total of 77 days.