Thursday, September 21, 2017

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

On Thursday 21 September, Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 VH-FVU looked to depart Australia for good, departing Melbourne (Tullamarine) for Nelson Airport on New Zealand as VOZ9948.  It had positioned from Brisbane to Tullamarine on Friday 15 September as VOZ9904.

File photo

VH-FVU is now the fourth Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 to leave Australia and joins VH-FVH, VH-FVL and VH-FVM at Nelson with all four aircraft noted to be now stored and awaiting sale.

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 has ended all ATR 72 turboprop operations in Queensland.

VH-FVU was originally built in 2011 for a Danish leasing company.  It was sold to a Singapore Company and entered the Australian register in 2012.  VH-FVU was leased to and operated by Skywest Airlines (Western Australia) on behalf of Virgin Australia.  It touched down at Brisbane on delivery in late February 2012 and it was noted wearing the name 'Double Island Point'.

VH-FVU at Emerald Airport in 2012  (File photo)

VH-FVU commenced operations in April 2012.

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.

VH-FVU at Brisbane Airport in 2016  (File photo)

Of interest, the final revenue service for VH-FVU was to and from Moranbah Airport on Friday 8 September.  Over the previous few days, it appears to have also completed flights from Brisbane to Moranbah.

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!

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