Friday, January 26, 2018

Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPT Departs Australia - And Could Return for JetGo!!

Last Sunday 21 January, Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 VH-ZPT was noted departing Brisbane for Darwin and Clark International Airport at Manilla in the Philippines VOZ9941.

VH-ZPT departs Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

VH-ZPT is the second-to-last of Virgin Australia E-190 jets that have been withdrawn from the fleet (for now) and be transferred to other operators or storage.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, VH-ZPQ, VH-ZPK, VH-ZPR, VH-ZPN and VH-ZPO which have all departed Australia since February 2016.

Presently, only one E-190s remains in the Virgin fleet - VH-ZPH - but its days are limited with one report suggesting that its final day of operations will be on Saturday 3 February.

VH-ZPT was reportedly ordered new by Virgin Blue, however it entered the Australian register in June 2011 and was registered to the re-branded Virgin Australia.  It was delivered to the airline in August 2011 and entered service soon after.  VH-ZPT entered service unnamed although was subsequently named 'Little Beach'.

VH-ZPT at Mackay Airport  (File photo)

VH-ZPT at Mackay Airport  (File photo)

Of interest, VH-ZPT was withdrawn from service after its final service on Saturday 30 December.  It appears that its final flight into Central Queensland was on Monday 25 December when it operated into Mackay Airport and back from Brisbane as VOZ613/616.

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

Finally, over the course of this week, JetGo Australia Airlines posted the photo below on the their Facebook page.  We have previously shared news from JetGo who announced that they will soon start services between Brisbane and Karratha in Western Australia and onward to Singapore, seeing the airline tap into the International flight market.  JetGo announced that these flights would start with Embraer E-175 regional jets.

https://www.facebook.com/JetgoAustralia/

Keen-eyed observers noted this 'mock-up' featured the larger Embraer E-190 regional jet prompting speculation that VH-ZPT could have gone to the Philippines in preparation for some future delivery back to Australia for JetGo Australia.

Speaking to us, JetGo Australia's CEO Jason Ryder has confirmed that VH-ZPT is indeed being prepared for operations with JetGo with delivery due in May.  He also stated that the E-190 would launch the Brisbane to Karratha and Singapore services soon after and that operating the type was more cost effective than the planned E-175.  He also suggested that another E-190 was planned for delivery later in the year, while the airline's next Embraer ERJ-145LR regional jet, registered VH-JGK (ex N14923) (cn 145318) would be delivered possibly as early as February.

Photos taken by Anthony Schulz and Dave  ©

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