In late December, the airline applied to Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC) to have Virgin Atlantic added as a marketing carrier on its Melbourne-Hong Kong service, as well as its nonstop flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles.
The IASC announced on Monday it had given the green light to the proposed codeshare.
It said in two separate decisions that allowing Virgin Atlantic to codeshare on Virgin Australia-operated services to Hong Kong and the US would add to the number of carriers that market services on the two routes and was unlikely to have a detrimental impact on competition.
Virgin Australia began nonstop services between Melbourne and Hong Kong in July 2017 with Airbus A330-200s. The flights are operated as part of an alliance with a number of HNA Group carriers, of which Hong Kong Airlines is one.
In this first phase of the partnership, Hong Kong Airlines has added its HX code to Virgin Australia’s Hong Kong route while the Australian carrier has placed its VA code on Hong Kong Airlines’ flights to Cairns and the Gold Coast.
There are also reciprocal benefits such as priority checkin, priority baggage and lounge access for eligible members of the two carriers’ frequent flyer programs.
On the trans-Pacific, Delta Air Lines has its DL airline code on Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777-300ER nonstop flights between the US and Australia, as well as on domestic Australian and trans-Tasman services as part of the pair’s joint-venture partnership.
Similarly, Virgin Australia has its VA airline code on Delta’s daily Boeing 777-200LR Sydney-Los Angeles flight and the US carrier’s services from Los Angeles to destinations throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere.
Virgin Atlantic last served Australia with its own aircraft in 2014 as part of a London Heathrow-Hong Kong-Sydney routing with Airbus A340-600 equipment. British Airways is the only European carrier flying to Australia with its own aircraft.