Virgin Atlantic is axing flights to Hong Kong, partly because of the 'complexities' of the Ukraine war, which has made some flights nearly 2 hours longer

Virgin Atlantic originally canceled flights to Hong Kong in December 2021 but was scheduled to resume in March 2023. Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic is suspending routes to Hong Kong, partly because it can no longer fly over Russia.
The closure of Russian airspace has added nearly two hours to some flights, Virgin said on Wednesday.
Virgin originally suspended flights in December 2021 and was scheduled to resume flights in March 2023.
Virgin Atlantic is permanently suspending flights to and from Hong Kong, partly because the closure of Russian airspace amid the Ukraine war has made it too complex to operate from the hub, the airline said on Wednesday.
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"We have made the difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Hong Kong and to close our Hong Kong office after proudly serving this Asian hub for almost 30 years," a Virgin Atlantic spokesman said in a statement to Insider.
"Significant operational complexities due to the ongoing closure of Russian airspace contributed to the commercial decision not to resume flights in March 2023," the spokesman said.
The airline originally suspended flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong in December 2021 after the Hong Kong government suspended flights as part of its coronavirus measures.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin closed Russian airspace to 36 countries, including Britain, the United States and Canada, in response to bans they imposed on Russian-operated aircraft following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This decision left airlines used to juggling higher fuel and labor costs across the country as flights were diverted.
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Virgin was scheduled to resume flights to Hong Kong on March 26, 2023. However, the plan has changed as the closure has added an hour to Hong Kong flights from Heathrow and up to an hour and 50 minutes in other ways.
The airline also cited a drop in the number of connecting passengers transiting Hong Kong after Virgin Australia suspended a Melbourne-Hong Kong route in 2019 as another reason for the decision, which was first reported by Bloomberg.
The airline has 18 ground staff and 28 cabin crew in Hong Kong. Virgin said the capacity freed up by suspending flights to Hong Kong will allow it to increase flights to other key markets in the summer of 2023, the airline said.
"Anyone booked for voyage from March 2023 will be offered a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on an alternative Virgin Atlantic route," the spokesman said.
Read the original article on Business Insider

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