Virgin Australia’s first Airbus A330 appears to have operated its last flight in the airline’s colours and is being returned to its lessor.
The ex-Emirates A330-200 aircraft, registration VH-XFA, left Melbourne for Singapore on Sunday, August 17, according to the Flightradar24 website, with its last revenue service for Virgin Australia VA694 from Perth to Melbourne on August 14.
Aviation websites say the aircraft was flown to Singapore for end of lease maintenance.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson declined to confirm the return of VH-XFA, and could not offer any more information on the airline’s A330 fleet at this time.
The spokesman said Virgin chief executive John Borghetti would deliver a fleet update at the airline’s full year financial results on Friday, August 29.
However, Virgin has made some changes to its schedule for flights between Perth and Brisbane after the latest review of its network.
“We have replaced some of the Airbus A330 services on the Brisbane-Perth route with Boeing 737 services and also added two extra Boeing 737 return services per week, resulting in more frequency on the route,” Virgin Australia spokesperson Luke O’Donnell said in an emailed statement.
“We will continue to review our trans-continental services in light of demand and other factors, and make changes to the frequency or aircraft as appropriate.”
Prior to the departure of VH-XFA to Singapore, Virgin Australia had seven Airbus A330-200s in service.
VH-XFA and sister-ship VH-XFB were among the first aircraft to feature the airline’s updated livery when it rebranded from Virgin Blue in May 2011, and both were used early on on the Sydney to Perth route.
While the first two A330s were ex-Emirates aircraft with older style seats in business and economy, the next five Airbus A330-200s in the fleet were factory fresh examples from Toulouse, France featuring lie-flat seats in business class, an updated inflight entertainment system and newer seats.
The additional A330s allowed Virgin Australia to run an almost all widebody operation between Perth and east coast capitals.
One more new A330-200 was due to be added to the fleet in September, Virgin chief commercial officer Judith Crompton confirmed in February.