14 July 2020 | Network

Rise and shine for Virgin Australia aircraft

As Virgin Australia begins to ramp up its domestic services, so too is the airline’s engineering team, who are working around-the-clock to return parked aircraft to the sky.

With Virgin Australia scheduled to operate flights to more than 30 domestic destinations by early August, the airline will require a significant number of the parked aircraft to be returned to service within the next month, to meet growing travel demand as some state and territory borders begin to reopen.

In a video released by Virgin Australia, veteran aircraft engineer, Todd Chamberlain, who joined the airline 20 years ago, describes the process of “waking-up an aircraft”.

“Each aircraft requires over 350 hours of inspections and functional tests to make sure everything is moving like it should and to ensure these aircraft are safe to fly,” said Mr Chamberlain.

“The Virgin Australia engineering team is working hard to get these aircraft back in the sky, so people can get flying again,” he said.

Along with significant labour hours to return parked aircraft to the sky, the Virgin Australia engineering team are also in the process of reverting a Boeing 737 back into a passenger jet after it was used as an ad hoc cargo freighter at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The process includes re-installing eight business class seats and 168 economy seats which were removed to make way for freight.

“Since COVID-19 hit we had to park the majority of our Boeing 737 fleet so we came up with some pretty dynamic ideas to keep aircraft in the air and one of those ideas was carrying additional cargo,” said Mr Chamberlain.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said they expect demand for domestic travel to continue increasing as state and territory borders reopen.

“A survey of Virgin Australia customers found that 73% want to book a domestic leisure trip within three-months of travel restrictions being lifted," they said.

For added confidence, Virgin Australia is waiving applicable change fees for bookings with travel between now and 30 September 2020. More information on the airline’s flexible booking policy can be found at: https://travel.virginaustralia.com/au/coronavirus-update/change-cancel