Virgin Atlantic has gained approval to launch London-Sydney services in its 2004 summer schedules. This follows the conclusion of a revised air service agreement between the UK and Hong Kong giving Virgin fifth-freedom rights and allowing it to extend its London Heathrow-Hong Kong service to Sydney. The agreement needs European Commission approval. If approved, Virgin plans a daily London-Sydney service with a 2h Hong Kong stopover. In return, Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways will gain transatlantic rights from the UK.

Source: Flight International