Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are to open up travel options between the UK and Australia and round the world through a new codeshare pact.

Travellers booking Virgin Atlantic will be able to buy tickets to Melbourne via either Hong Kong or Los Angeles onto Virgin Australia services from the end of January.

Additionally, passengers travelling through the US city will be able to fly onward to Sydney and Brisbane as part of the new codeshare.

The deal will also open up more domestic options across Australia – enabling flights to be added to or from eight cities including Cairns, Brisbane and Perth operated by Virgin Australia.

Virgin Atlantic runs up to three daily flights between Heathrow and Los Angeles with a further one daily service to Hong Kong, creating the most flexible travel offerings to Australia. Both routes are operated by new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

Virgin Australia operates 18 services a week between Australia and Los Angeles with Boeing 777s fleet and a daily flight between Australia and Hong Kong.

Flights under the codeshare agreement will become available in the new year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Shai Weiss said: “We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Virgin Australia which means customers can soon travel around the world using only Virgin airlines.

“The new deal will create more travel options between the UK and Australia by giving customers the choice of connecting through Los Angeles or Hong Kong to Melbourne and beyond.

“It also offers customers the security and ease of booking through a codeshare, as well as through check-in and a single bag drop for the entire journey.

“ We’re looking forward to welcoming our Australian customers back on board, and couldn’t think of a more fitting way to do it than with our sister airline.”

Group executive of Virgin Australia Airlines, Rob Sharp, said: “One of the key priorities for Virgin Australia is to provide choice to our customers and we can now offer that flexibility under this codeshare.

“We are looking forward to working with Virgin Atlantic to provide our customers with a seamless booking, check-in and travel experience when flying between Australia and the United Kingdom.”