It was originally thought (certainly by me) that the airline would only be ceasing flying the ATR 72 turboprop aircraft on their regional Queensland services from July, however the Virgin Australia website suggests that from Monday 19 June, all flights to and from Rockhampton Airport will be operated by Alliance Airlines.
Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 jet VH-FKJ is currently scheduled to arrive into Rockhampton Airport late on Sunday 18 June on the scheduled VOZ1251 service from Brisbane and remain overnight before returning to the capital early on Monday 19 June as VOZ1230.
|VH-FKJ at Rockhampton Airport (File photo)|
The final Virgin Australia aircraft to call into Rockhampton Airport appears to be Boeing B737-800 VH-YFU which is scheduled to operate the VOZ1249/1252 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane on Sunday 18 June. The final Virgin Australia turboprop flight into Rockhampton Airport will be operated by ATR 72-500 VH-FVU on the VOZ1245/1248 scheduled service from and back to Brisbane also on Sunday 18 June.
|VH-YFU (File photo)|
|VH-FVU (File photo)|
It has been reported previously that these changes to regional Queensland services have been brought about by Virgin Australia wanting to consolidate its turboprop operations to routes within the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria as it prepares to reduce the number of ATRs in the fleet from 14 to six. As a result, the airline would end ATR 72 turboprop operations in Queensland.
It has also been reported that all six ATR 72-500s - VH-FVH, VH-FVI, VH-FVL, VH-FVM, VH-FVU and VH-FVX - along with two ATR 72-600s - would be withdrawn from service. I'm told that VH-FVH could be leaving Australia as early as this week!
|VH-FVH operating the first ever Virgin Australia flight to Emerald Airport in 2012 (File photo)|
Virgin Australia was reportedly going to withdraw ATR 72 services from Brisbane to Central Queensland destinations including Moranbah, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Rockhampton, as well as to Port Macquarie in New South Wales from July. ATR 72 services were withdrawn from Emerald Airport in 2016.
The downturn in the resources sector has led to a a drop in demand on a number of these Central Queensland regional routes.
The decision to reduce Virgin’s ATR fleet, as well as its Embraer E-190 regional jet fleet, was first announced in June 2016.
Photos taken by 'IAD' ©