Certainly a surprise arrival into Mackay Airport early on Tuesday 10 December with Virgin Australia Boeing B737-800 VH-YIV operating the VOZ601/604 service from and back to Brisbane. This is the aircraft's first visit into Central Queensland since it was retrofitted earlier this year with new Split Scimitar winglets.
VH-YIV is reportedly the first of five Boeing B737-800s to be retrofitted with the new Split Scimitar winglets that will mostly be used on international flights to New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Bali. Indeed VH-YIV has spent most of its time since it was retrofitted with the winglets over July and August on international flights so its visit to CQ was certainly a pleasant surprise!
The Split Scimitar winglets, which have been named after a type of Middle Eastern sword with a curved blade, aim to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. It features a split tip, with one part curved upwards at the end of the wing and a second tip pointing downwards and backwards at an angle.
The winglets, developed by Aviation Partners Boeing, have been available for retrofit on existing Boeing B737 Next Generation aircraft (B737-600, -700, -800 and -900/900ER series aircraft) since 2014. Virgin is the first airline in Australia to introduce the winglets into service.
All photos taken by 'JM' ©