Saturday, July 15, 2017

Virgin Australia ATR 72-500 / 600

The final turboprop service operated by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) in Queensland will be flown on Sunday 16 July, bringing to an end an era of ATR 72-500 / 600 services that have operated in the state since October 2011.

Virgin Australia currently flys to Bundaberg, Gladstone, Moranbah and Port Macquarie from Brisbane with 68-seat ATR 72-500 / 600 turboprop aircraft, however, is withdrawing six ATR 72-500's and two ATR 72-600's as part of efforts to simplify the fleet, reduce costs and return the airline to profitability.

As a consequence of Virgin Australia's ATR fleet reduction from 14 to six, the airline is ending turboprop operations in Queensland, and will also result in the closure of the Brisbane Airport ATR base. The six ATR 72-500s to be withdrawn are VH-FVH, VH-FVI, VH-FVL, VH-FVM, VH-FVU and VH-FVX.

However, it is not all gloom for Central Queensland as Alliance Airlines will be taking over the vacated routes from Virgin Australia with 80-seat Fokker 70 jets on Monday 17 July, and sold as Virgin Australia codeshare services under a wet-lease agreement, identical to the current services operated from Brisbane to Cloncurry, Emerald, Mt Isa and Rockhampton by Alliance Airlines on behalf of Virgin Australia.

Powered by a pair of Pratt Whitney PW127M turboprops, the ATR 72-500 / 600 is capable of achieving a cruise speed of 276 knots (510km/h), a service ceiling of 25000ft (7600m) and an approximate range with full payload of 1360km.