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Two Richard Branson-backed airlines are cozying up even more. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are expanding their codeshare partnership the airlines announced Tuesday.

The new agreement is adding another route to its network, offering a new daily connection between London (LHR) and Sydney (SYD) via Hong Kong (HKG).

Flights are available to purchase now, although the new service doesn’t begin until July 2. The two airlines launched a similar relationship earlier this year with a connection in Hong Kong when traveling from London to Melbourne (MEL). The flight from Sydney to Hong Kong will be operated by a Virgin Australia A330, and the Hong Kong-London leg will be on a Virgin Atlantic 787.

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Premium Economy. Courtesy Nick Ellis.
Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Premium Economy. Image by Nick Ellis.

The expanded partnership will allow travelers to connect more seamlessly when flying between the UK and Australia, and all on Virgin branded aircraft if they so desire. Travelers will only have to check a bag once, and tickets will be on the same itinerary.

The expanded partnership opens up a new option for the “Kangaroo Route” that connected the UK and Australia in the past. This move could be a reaction to Qantas’ new nonstop service between Perth (PER) and London (LHR).

It’s possible to connect through Los Angeles, too, flying a Virgin Australia 777 to California and then connecting onto a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 flight to London. The codeshare already allows customers traveling though LA on Virgin Atlantic to fly directly onto Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Featured image by ERIC SALARD / Flickr.

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