Just when it seemed the London-Sydney route could not take any more competition, 10 more weekly options turn up: Virgin Atlantic is to start daily flights on the route, from Heathrow via Hong Kong, on 7 December.

Bargain of the week: Hong Kong, with Australia's airline

Just when it seemed the London-Sydney route could not take any more competition, 10 more weekly options turn up: Virgin Atlantic is to start daily flights on the route, from Heathrow via Hong Kong, on 7 December.

In return Qantas has been given the right to fly Heathrow-Hong Kong-Sydney three times a week. To fill the London-Hong Kong part of the operation, the Australian airline (08457 747 767; www.qantas.co.uk) has come in with an extremely low fare, £415 return, if you book within the next 10 days and adhere to some pretty strict travel dates for the outbound leg: the first week and the last week of December, plus 9 February to 16 March and 1 May to 17 June.

It is possible that discount travel agents will undercut these fares further, and there is also likely to be a response from the existing airlines on the route: Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific and BA.

Destination of the week: Crete, from next summer

John Patterson, boss of GB Airways, is hoping to demonstrate the Midas touch. He believes there is money to be made from his airline's new link from Gatwick to Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete. The flights represent the first-ever scheduled service between the UK and Crete. The twice-weekly flight (Tuesdays and Fridays) will take off on 3 May 2005, and operate until 11 October. Heraklion airport is within easy reach of Knossos, the legendary home of Midas. You need not be too rich to take the new flight: when it goes on sale through British Airways (0870 950 8950; www.ba.com), fares will start at a reasonable £129.

Warning of the week: BA cancellations

"Prudent": that is British Airways' explanation for its decision to cancel dozens of flights over the next few months. Following last month's chaos at Heathrow, the airline has scaled down its operations. This, says BA, "relieves pressure on our flying programme and allows us to provide our customers with a more robust flight schedule".

The airline says the reductions are "on a small number of our routes which have a large number of daily flights from London".

European flights to Amsterdam, Brussels and Copenhagen have been cut, as have some trips to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester. Long-haul flights to Hong Kong, New York, Miami and Los Angeles are axed.

In November, BA's stipulation about a "large number of daily flights" goes awry. Travellers to China - which has only five BA flights a week, to Beijing - face disruption, as do those planning a visit to Tripoli: two of the six weekly flights to Libya will be cancelled.

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