Virgin Australia to fly to China & Hong Kong by late 2017

By @vitthernandez on
Virgin Australia
Virgin planes are parked next to each other at Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney in this August 30, 2013 file photo. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Besides offering passengers on its domestic and international flights Wi-Fi by the middle of 2017, Virgin Australia is also flying to new destinations later next year. John Borghetti, chief executive of the air carrier, reveals the new destinations as China and Hong Kong.

Borghetti would talk with Nanshan Group, one of the airline’s new investors, about a strategic alliance. Besides Nanshan, there is another new Chinese investor in Virgin Australia, HNA, which brings the company close to being 40 percent owned by Chinese investors.

Both investors have investments as well in Chinese air carriers. Nanshan has a stake in Qingdao Airlines, while HNA owns Hainan Airlines, the fourth-largest airline in China, reports The Australian. Nanshan acquired the 19.98 percent stake held by Air New Zealand. Nanshan and HNA, which purchased a 13 percent share in Virgin Australia for $159 million, would each get a board seat

If the International Air Services Commission would approve Virgin Australia’s application, the airline would add almost 2,000 seats weekly to China and make seven trips a week to Hong Kong. Borghetti says the company had applied for the rights and got it in Australia. But it needs to do more work to acquire the additional slots before it could fly to Beijing and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, in the airline’s revamped business class, Virgin Australia changed the seat layout from 2-3-2 to 1-2-1, removing the despised middle seat. The new layout grants all “The Business” passengers access to the aisle, reports The Traveller.

Borghetti points out, “We won’t have anybody climbing over our customers or falling on top of them trying to get out of their seat.” He adds Virgin Australia has the widest business class seat in the lie-flat mode on US routes. It is 28 inches, or three inches longer than its nearest competitor, while its length is 80 inches, as long as a queen-sized bed. The air carrier’s flight entertainment screen is also the biggest at 18 inches.

For more information about Virgin Australia, visit: http://www.virginaustralia.com/au/en/

VIDEO: Virgin Australia’s new 777 Business Class

Source: Virgin Australia