Virgin Atlantic becomes aggressive on Kangaroo route using Virgin Australia codeshare

    Virgin has become one of the lowest priced brands for travel on the kangaroo route from Sydney to London.


    Summary

    • Virgin Atlantic is currently offering one of the lowest available fares in the Sydney-London market, using a codeshare on Virgin Australia’s new Sydney-Hong Kong flight;
    • Virgin Australia launched service from Sydney to Hong Kong in Jul-2018, enabling Virgin Atlantic to improve its offline presence in the Sydney market
    • Virgin Atlantic is also offering very competitive round the world fares from Sydney and Melbourne with stops in Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong;

    Virgin Atlantic has not served Australia since 2014, when it dropped its Sydney-Hong Kong-London Heathrow service. However Virgin Australia’s new services from Sydney to Hong Kong has provided a new opportunity for Virgin Atlantic to target the Sydney-London market.

    Virgin Atlantic is currently offering all-in return fares of less than AUD1300 (GBP723) from Sydney to London. On some days it now has the lowest Sydney-London fare and on other days it is among the lowest.

    The connection is not great on the outbound leg, with a 6hr15min layover in Hong Kong and a total journey time of 28hr30mins. However, passengers have the option of breaking up their journey with a stopover in Hong Kong.

    From London to Sydney, the total transit time is a relatively competitive 24h20mins with a 2h55min layover in Hong Kong. This is a much more attractive total journey time than from Sydney to London although the option of stopping over in Hong Kong on the outbound sector will appeal to some passengers.

    Virgin Atlantic is also offering a stopover in Los Angeles for about the same fare or slightly more. The Sydney-London journey time via Los Angeles is longer compared to via Hong Kong but a stopover in the US will appeal to some passengers.

    Passengers can even opt for an attractively priced round the world option, starting at around AUD1400 (GBP779) including taxes. This involves flying on Virgin Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles, on Virgin Atlantic from Los Angeles to London, on Virgin Atlantic from London to Hong Kong and on Virgin Australia from Hong Kong to Sydney.

    Virgin Australia launched a daily flight from Sydney to Hong Kong in early Jul-2018. However, Virgin Australia is not following Virgin Atlantic in promoting Sydney-London fares via Hong Kong. Virgin Australia’s lowest Sydney-London fare is generally on Etihad via Abu Dhabi with Etihad operating both legs. Virgin Australia also codeshares with Singapore Airlines but this option is usually more expensive.

    Virgin Australia began serving Hong Kong in Jul-2017 with five weekly flights from Melbourne. However, its Melbourne-Hong Kong flight currently does not connect well with Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong-London Heathrow flight. As Virgin Australia’s Melbourne-Hong Kong flight operates overnight, landing in Hong Kong in the morning, there is a 15hr45mins layover until the Virgin Atlantic departure, resulting in a total transit time of 38hrs.

    However, on the return sector Virgin Atlantic’s London-Hong Kong flight connects very well with Virgin Australia’s Hong Kong-Melbourne flight. There is only a 1hr15min layover in Hong Kong from London to Melbourne, resulting in a total transit time of 22hr45mins.

    Virgin Atlantic is offering Melbourne-London return fares starting at less than AUD1400 (GBP779). A stopover in Hong Kong or Los Angeles is available – and is particularly attractive on the outbound leg given the long transit time. From Melbourne to London via Los Angeles there is a total transit time of 31hr30min for passengers not stopping over (this is long but still several hours shorter than the layover in Hong Kong).

    Royal Brunei often has the lowest Melbourne-London fare – at less than AUD1000 (GBP556) return on some days. Royal Brunei currently has a two-stop product in the Melbourne-London market (via Brunei and Dubai) but is offering a more attractive one-stop product from late Oct-2018 as it introduces nonstop flights from Brunei to London Heathrow. As Blue Swan previously highlighted, the new schedule includes a total transit time of 23hr10min from Melbourne and 24hr55mins from London. Royal Brunei does not serve Sydney.

    See related report: Royal Brunei reduces Melbourne-London transit times, offers attractive fares

    While Virgin Atlantic is not always offering the lowest fare, the Virgin product (on both Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia) is appealing, making the Virgin Atlantic option a very good value from Melbourne and Sydney to London.