Austrian Airlines has begun a five-times-weekly service between Vienna and Hong Kong.

The launch of the new route means that the Star Alliance carrier now offers direct flights from Vienna to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in Greater China.

Operating every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, flight OS067 departs Vienna at 1750 and arrives in Hong Kong at 1125 the following day. Following a short layover, the return service sees flight OS068 take off from Hong Kong at 1255 before touching back down in Vienna at 1925.

The Vienna–Hong Kong route is operated by the B777-200ER, which features a two-class configuration with 48 seats in business and 260 in economy. The business class seat features a fully-flat bed (almost two metres long) with an innovative air cushion system, whilst in economy class the seats have a seat pitch of at least 76cm (30 inches).

The inaugural flight used a specially branded B777 with the words “Servus Hong Kong” painted on the fuselage in English and traditional Chinese characters combined with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia flower.

“Following the successful expansion of our flight offering to North America, we are now focusing on Greater China,” said Austrian Airlines chief commercial officer Andreas Otto. “We see good growth potential in our latest destinations Hong Kong and Shanghai.” (The Shanghai service was launched a few months ago, also using a B777-200.)

Austrian Airlines plans to leverage Vienna Airport’s position as a convenient transfer hub especially for Central and Eastern Europe – it serves 37 destinations in those areas. “It’s a relatively small airport so transfer times are short and convenient,” said Patricia Strampfer, deputy senior director corporate communications. “We expect to serve 20,000-30,000 passengers by the end of the year; from Vienna we will see expats, tourists and members of the financial sector [flying to Hong Kong], while from Hong Kong tourists and computer industry members will fly to Vienna and beyond,” she added.

Aviation aficionados will recall that Austrian last served Hong Kong back in 1999, when its now defunct subsidiary Lauda Air operated a twice-weekly triangle service linking Vienna with Bangkok and then Hong Kong.

Look out for a review of the business class seat product on this route by Business Traveller in the coming week.

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