Virgin Aus at Nelson Airport, NZ

49 PM
Whilst on Holiday in Nelson (NZ) I saw 6 Virgin Australia ATR-500’s.

My first thought was that Virgin Aus might start regional services in NZ. However on closer inspection I noticed that all of them had Aussie registrations.

So as Nelson is Air New Zealand’s maintenance hub for it’s turboprop aircraft, and remembering that Air New Zealand brought new ATR-72’s last year, I reckon they have sold some of their older ATR-500’s to Virgin Australia. They then had them fitted out for their new company in Nelson before flying trans-tasman to begin more regional services in Australia.

I was wondering if anyone else knew anything more on this, or just other ideas or comments on this subject.



Moved this to #real-world-aviation for you, as it’s a legit topic.


Very interesting! Love the look!

Yeah, I saw the ATR72 while on the ground as well, I have no clue why there were there. Maybe a transfer of aircraft or maybe just selling them, who knowz

Thanks for that. Appreciate it.

Yes as air nz is replacing the ATR - 500 with the -600 so they must be selling

I like the plane! Ferry Nice.

Virgin Australia is phasing out the older ATR 72-500s and replacing them with the newer 72-600s. They are storing the -500s at NZNS until they are sold. Air NZ probably won’t buy them because they have ordered heaps of -600s and are phasing out their -500s as well.

I wonder why Virgin Australia would choose Nelson to store their aircraft while they sell then.

I think it has something to do with their contract with Air NZ

Yes, that’s what I thought, but forgot to mention above. Also it’s a nice, easy handover, as there a no logistical problems for getting them to Australia, or ready for the new company.

I Prefer the Air NZ livery on the ATR 😉

But I think it’s always cool looking at the turboprops instead of jets, they make some cool sounds

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These aircraft are awaiting to be sold. The Virgin Australia ATR’s get their heavy maintenance done at Nelson. So that is why they’re parked there.

Air NZ have not sold their -500’s to VA

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Ah. Right. Cheers for that. That’s interesting that VA get some of their maintenance done in Nelson too. I wonder who they will sell to.

I’m kinda surprised you would take them out of service while awaiting a buyer as well.

Cheers for that.

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Agreed, the sounds of a Dash 8 starting up is awesome

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