British airline Virgin Atlantic on Wednesday decided to suspend its Heathrow-Hong Kong services, close its Hong Kong office and not resume flights in March 2023 as planned, after 30 years in the city due to issues related to the closure of Russian airspace.
The war in Ukraine has led several airlines, which were already reeling from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, to suspend flights and plan longer routes to avoid Russian and Ukrainian airspace.
“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,” the airline founded by billionaire Richard Branson said
Virgin Atlantic had halted flights to Hong Kong since December last year because of Covid-19, and then extended the suspension due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Several airlines have also not routed flights through Russia’s airspace since the war in Ukraine.
“We’re sorry for the disappointment caused to our loyal customers on this route and anyone booked to travel from March 2023, whose flight has been cancelled,” the airline said in a statement, adding that affected customers can amend their flights without fees or request a refund.
Earlier in the day, Bloomberg reported that around 46 Virgin Atlantic jobs will be impacted, including office staff and cabin crew, due to the decision. (RTHK/Reuters)