On Wednesday 12 July, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPK looked to have departed Australia for good, flying out of Brisbane for Apia (Tonga) as VOZ9901. It has since continued to Honolulu (Hawaii), Van Nuys (California) and Nashville (Tennessee) for post-lease maintenance.
|VH-ZPK at Gladstone Airport recently (File photo)|
VH-ZPK is the latest in a long line of Virgin Australia E-190 jets that have been withdrawn from the fleet (for now) and be transferred to other operators or storage. It follows VH-ZPD, VH-ZPF, VH-ZPE, VH-ZPG, VH-ZPJ, VH-ZPL, VH-ZPB, VH-ZPA, VH-ZPM, VH-ZPI ,VH-ZPC and VH-ZPQ which have all departed Australia since February 2016.
VH-ZPK was the last of eleven new aircraft ordered by Virgin Blue in 2006. It arrived at Brisbane on completion of its delivery flight in November 2008 and entered service soon after. VH-ZPK was named 'Aussie Rob'.
|VH-ZPK at Brisbane Airport in 2009 (File photo)|
The airline was rebranded in May 2011 and in August 2014, VH-ZPK ferried overseas where it was re-painted in the current Virgin Australia livery. It was interesting to note that it maintained the name 'Main Beach'.
|VH-ZPK on finals at Brisbane Airport in 2014 (File photo)|
Of interest, VH-ZPK was withdrawn from service only on Sunday 9 July and its final flight into Central Queensland was during the previous week on Monday 3 July when it operated the VOZ1555/1556 rotation from Sydney to Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) Airport and back.
The decision to reduce Virgin’s Embraer E190 regional jet fleet, as well as its ATR fleet, was first announced in June 2016.
Sad to see them go!
Photo taken by 'Mick' ©