Friday October 24, 2014

Virgin Australia’s first A330 leaves fleet

Virgin Australia's first A330, VH-XFA. (Andrew McLaughlin)

Virgin Australia’s first A330, VH-XFA. (Andrew McLaughlin)

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.

Comments

13 Responses to “Virgin Australia’s first A330 leaves fleet”
  1. Peter says:

    As far as domestic services go. I would rather do the mind numbing Brisbane Perth on a A330. Find the 737s to squashed for leg room. Bad move Virgin

  2. John says:

    I believe this aircraft acquired the nickname of awful so there are people around that are glad to see it leaving

  3. Killa330 says:

    Good Riddance, XFA, you spent more time on the ground than in the air.

  4. Dan says:

    737 any day over the old a330- even business was terrible. Making room for the new a330 in next months delivery!

  5. John Harrison says:

    As others have commented, As far as I am concerned days of flying PER-BNE-PER in a B737 are long gone.
    I wouldn’t book a flight unless it was an AB330 (that goes for both Virgin and Qantas) on this route. Or any East West flight come to that.

  6. William says:

    Very disappointed with the PER – BNE 330-200 service
    Has all but gone . There is nothing romantic paying $1800 + for
    A business class Australian one way trip at the best of time but to be expected
    To fork out that for a 737 is disgraceful …. Bad move Virgin

    Regards
    Disgruntled Platnem member

  7. Stu Bee says:

    I’m pretty sure they were ex-etihad equipment? or am i wrong?

  8. Ray says:

    VH-XFA (cn365) was ex A6-EAB with Emirates. Airliners.net is your friend when it comes to tracking livery changes.

  9. Stuart says:

    To Australian Aviation,

    There is an error in your Article above – “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 Melbourne to Perth on August 14.

    The correction is: The last Revenue flight for Virgin Australia for VH-XFA was VA694 PERTH TO MELBOURNE, according to flight aware. (And Not the otherway around)
    Departed Perth 1730 and arrived Melbourne 2243.

    Please correct

  10. australianaviation.com.au says:

    cheers, fixed, thanks for letting us know

  11. Ben says:

    Good Riddance XFA. Why is everyone assuming that BNE-PER will be downgrading to. 737 (not that’s it’s exactly downgrading when you put reliability side by side). My understanding is that this is being replaced by a new A330 in sep?

  12. kevin petre says:

    They better not use a 737 on east west routes. The A330 is a far more comfortable aircraft. I will be switching teams.

  13. Ivan says:

    B737 is Awful, little legroom, small overhead bin, less lavatory, it just a no no! prefer A320 for short-haul