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Last Virgin Blue aircraft enters paintshop

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 29, 2015
VH-VUL after landing at Townsville Airport on January 28 2015. (Dave Parer)
VH-VUL after landing at Townsville Airport on January 28 2015. (Dave Parer)

Virgin Blue’s red, white and blue livery has been consigned to history.

The last aircraft to fly in the old Virgin Blue colours, Boeing 737-800 VH-VUL, has entered the Townsville paintshop from which it will emerge in a few weeks bearing the name Virgin Australia in silver-grey print on the side of an all-white fuselage.

VH-VUL operated flight VA381 from Brisbane to Townsville on Wednesday evening, where it landed a little after 2030 local time. After the passengers disembarked and cargo was unloaded, the 737 was towed into the Flying Colours hangar where it will be repainted.

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Named Ballina-Rina BlueVH-VUL was delivered to Virgin in August 2007. When it emerges from the paintshop the 737 can be expected to be re-named after an Australian beach, following Virgin Australia’s convention of naming aircraft after Australian and New Zealand beaches.

Virgin chief executive John Borghetti relaunched what was then Virgin Blue into Virgin Australia in May 2011, meaning it has taken a little over three and a half years to get all of the carrier’s roughly 130 aircraft featuring the new livery.

737-800_VH-VUL_SYDNEY_6MAY2010_SETH JAWORSKI
A May 2010 file image showing VH-VUL wearing the Virgin Blue colours plus promotional decals for the movie Avatar. (Seth Jaworski)

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8 Comments

  • john

    says:

    The flight number was VA 381 bne to tvl & VA 318 is a bne to Mel flt number. Our crew in bne was the last to load this flight in the old Virgin blue coat last night.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Thanks John, the story has now been corrected

  • Dominic

    says:

    I liked Virgin Blue. Virgin Blue had character. noth the blandness that is Virgin Austalia

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Agree with you there a little Dominic. The flight crew used to be a bit more fun and would often crack a few little jokes. Now it seems to mirror Qantas more I guess that’s the Borghetti factor.

  • Lisa

    says:

    My husband was one of the original Virgin Blue flight crew. He’s loud and full of life. He worked hard and did his job. Along the way he collected a few letters sent by patrons thanking him for his service and the laughs.

    Then management changed and the staff were encouraged to report (dob) on each other. Everyone reigned in their behaviour and we’re scared of upsetting the apple cart. Husband resigned after pettiness within the ranks.

    The fun and cheeky reputation left Virgin years ago. It’s sad. It’s what made flying with them worth it. Now all the airlines are generic and boring. The paint job is just reflecting this.

  • Toby

    says:

    Hi
    Let’s not forget that the colour white is deemed a clean/pure colour, and professional in appearance. That and it wears better over time compared to red which fades fast in the sun, thus reducing repainting costs. And it was done to rebrand and relaunch as a competitor to QF. Not sure Borghetti cares about making VA like QF when QF didn’t give him the top job.

  • Ben

    says:

    Virgin Blue was a cheeky, happy-go-lucky LCC (largely modelled off the grand-daddy of all LCCs Southwest). Virgin Australia is a full service airline. Unfortunately with the premium cabin comes a change in attitude aimed at those on the front side of the curtain. I doubt VB would be doing as well in the current market. Unfortunately the VA transition had to happen.

  • Martin

    says:

    Well I like the simple and smart new paint scheme for Virgin Australia and was never a fan of the old Virgin Blue one. I thought the colours clashed. My bet is Virgin Australia will never revisit the Virgin Blue scheme as a ‘retro’ version in 30 or 40 years! Call me bland and boring if you must!

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