A Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 has been sitting at Melbourne Tullamarine with its engines and landing gear covered up, windows blacked out and doors taped for the past 10 weeks.
The aircraft, VH-VUM, last flew on May 2, when it was ferried from Christchurch to Melbourne as VA9949.
Sister-ship VH-VUN has also spent considerable time on the ground at Melbourne Airport. The 737 was ferried to Tullamarine on May 8 and did not fly again until June 30, when it was went to Christchurch as VA9948 before returning to Melbourne on July 4.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson declined to offer any explanation for the aircraft being idle for the past 10 weeks.
But the airline was expected to give a fleet update at its 2014/15 full year financial results in August.
According to the Aussie Airliners’ website, VH-VUM was delivered to then Virgin Blue in 2007 on lease from CIT Leasing Corporation. It was involved in a 2012 incident where the aircraft flew untracked for 27 minutes between Sydney and Brisbane after air traffic control incorrectly thought the flight was headed for Newcastle.
Virgin still has 16 factory fresh 737-800s on order from Boeing, according to the manufacturer’s website, in addition to 23 737 MAXs expected to arrive from 2018.