Authorities in Hong Kong is set to offer 500,000 free airline tickets in a bid to attract visitors back to the city following the decision by Virgin Atlantic to suspend passenger flights route there for the first time in 30 years.
The airline suspended passenger flights to the city in December, when all flights from the UK were banned due to the pandemic.
Flights from London had been due to resume at the start of the 2023 summer schedule.
Several factors contributed to the decision to pull out altogether, including the closure of Russian airspace that made flight times at least an hour longer.
Virgin Australia ended its services between Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong in 2019, reducing the number of connecting passengers.
The decision will enable Virgin Atlantic to raise frequencies on other key routes next summer. A spokesperson said: “After careful consideration we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend our London Heathrow–Hong Kong services and close our Hong Kong office, after almost 30 years of proudly serving this Asian hub city.
“Significant operational complexities due to the ongoing Russian airspace closure have contributed to the commercial decision not to resume flights in March 2023 as planned, which have already been paused since December 2021.