Virgin Australia - Airbus A330-200
The Real Deal
In 2011, Australian airline Virgin Blue became Virgin Australia, which came with a new livery and a new aircraft type to the Virgin fleet, the Airbus A330-200.
The first Airbus A330-200 to arrive for rebranded Australian carrier was VH-XFB and it operated the first Virgin Australia A330 between Sydney and Perth on May 26, 2011.
VH-XFB was orignally ordered by Sri Lankan Airlines but rolled off the production line in France and the aircraft (Construction Number: 372) had it's first flight in November 2000 before being delivered to Emirates in December of the same year.
It served with Emirates for 11 years before being withdrawn from Emirates service and returned to the leasing company that owned it.
The aircraft then became VH-XFB and operated with Virgin Australia until September 2014 when it was returned to the leasing company as Virgin Australia had received all six A330-200s that it had on order from Airbus.
The aircraft has since been operated by Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileira and TAP Portugal, however it is currently back in operation with Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileira and as I write this blog entry it is currently operating from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Fort Lauderdale, USA.
The Collector's Item
The 1/400 version in my collection was released by Phoenix Models in 2011, shortly after the actual aircraft entered service. The model was in high demand when it was first announced. My records indicate that my copy came from the United States and actually arrived with some parts loose in the box. This isn't going to be a review of the model but Phoenix have produced a high quality replica that would be at home in any Australian collection.
Three manufacturers have produced this model (Phoenix, JC Wings and Dragon) and some examples of all three models can be found on eBay still for a reasonable price. The Phoenix version is probably the most in demand of the three and commands the highest price if you are looking for a copy of it.
Massive thanks to AussieAirliners, Planespotters and Airfleets for providing the information of VH-XFB.