Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 VH-FVL Departs Australia for Good

On Tuesday 18 July, Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 VH-FVL looked to depart Australia for good, departing Brisbane for Nelson Airport on New Zealand as VOZ9948.

VH-FVL touches down at Gladstone Airport in 2014  (File photo)

VH-FVL is now the second Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 to leave Australia and joins VH-FVH at Nelson with both aircraft noted to be now stored and awaiting sale.  VH-FVH departed Australia for Nelson in mid-June - see Blog post HERE.

As previously mentioned, Virgin Australia plans 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 will end ATR 72 turboprop operations in Queensland.

VH-FVL was the third of four ATR 72 aircraft ordered by Virgin Australia in 2011.  It was registered to and operated by Skywest Airlines (Western Australia) on behalf of Virgin Australia.  VH-FVL touched down at Perth on delivery in October 2011 and it was noted wearing the name 'Preston Beach'.

VH-FVL departs Brisbane Airport in 2011  (File photo)

Soon after its arrival into Perth, VH-FVL ferried across to Brisbane and then Canberra where it commenced operating for Virgin Australia, operating its first service from Canberra to Sydney.

In May 2013, Skywest Airlines was officially renamed Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) and now the ATR fleet are registered and operated by Virgin Australia.

Of interest, the final revenue service for VH-FVL was to and from Moranbah Airport - twice - on Monday 17 July.  Over the previous couple of days, it also operated flights in and out of Gladstone and Bundaberg Airports, including operating Virgin Australia's final ATR 72-operated flight in and out of Bundaberg Airport on Sunday 16 July.

VH-FVL taxis out at Emerald Airport in 2012  (File photo)

The decision to reduce Virgin’s ATR fleet, as well as its Embraer E190 regional jet fleet, was first announced in June 2016.

Sad to see them go!

Photo taken by Anthony Schulz  ©

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