Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Final Two Virgin Australia ATR 72-500s VH-FVX & VH-FVI Depart Australia For Good

Over the course of this last week, the final two Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 turboprop aircraft departed Australia for good, both heading for Nelson Airport in New Zealand for storage.

VH-FVI departs Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

VH-FVX departed Canberra Airport as VOZ9948 on Tuesday 5 December, while VH-FVI also departed Canberra for Nelson but as VOZ9946 on Thursday 7 December.

VH-FVX at Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

They are the fifth and sixth (and final) Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 aircraft to leave Australia, and they join VH-FVH, VH-FVL, VH-FVM and VH-FVU at Nelson with all six aircraft 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-FVX was delivered to Virgin Australia in Brisbane in May 2012 and was noted wearing the Danish registration of OY-CJV.  It was soon re-registered as VH-FVX and was noted wearing the name 'Kirra Beach'.  Its first revenue flight was at the start of June 2012 and its final service into Central Queensland was on Friday 14 July when it operated into Bundaberg Airport on the VOZ1701/1702 service from and back to Brisbane.

VH-FVX at Gate at Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

Meanwhile, VH-FVI was the second of four aircraft ordered by Virgin Australia for delivery in 2011.  It was registered as VH-FVI and soon after, it touched down at Brisbane on delivery in late August 2011.  VH-FVI was noted wearing the name 'Mission Beach'.  After operating 'route proving' flights to Port Macquarie and Gladstone Airports, its first revenue flight was as DJ1715 from Brisbane to Gladstone Airport on Tuesday 18 October 2011.  Its final service into Central Queensland was also on Friday 14 July when it operated into Moranbah Airport on the VOZ1667/1668 service from and back to Brisbane.

VH-FVI taxis in at Gladstone Airport  (File photo)

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

Virgin Australia still has eight ATR 72-600 turboprops in operation on services in New South Wales and Victoria - VH-FVP, VH-FVN, VH-FVQ, VH-FVR, VH-FVY, VH-FVZ, VH-VPI and VH-VPJ.

Sad to see the ATR 72-500s (and Embraer jets) go!

Photos taken by Michael Fleetwood and Anthony Schulz  ©

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