Switch from jets still up in the air

THE switch of Virgin Australia planes from jets to turbo-props on the Albury-Sydney route has been delayed by the need for more training.

The hold-up comes as an ATR-72, the plane which will replace the Embraer 190 jet on the service, was spotted at Albury airport by a Border Mail photographer earlier this week.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said the ATR-72, which has a 78-seat capacity, was on a test flight.

Virgin had told Albury Council it would be replacing the jets from late August and then told The Border Mail they would be gone by September 24.

But the spokeswoman said the need for additional training of staff had prompted the further delay.

She declined to give a specific time frame when the jets would be replaced, only saying it would be in “coming weeks”.

Meanwhile, Virgin was forced to turn back its service last Saturday night because it was struck by lightning.

Its flight DJ1176 was hit during stormy weather and as a precaution flew back to Sydney for an inspection.

The spokeswoman said “the safety of our aircraft, guests and crew was never in question”.

Passengers were forced to travel from Sydney to Albury by bus.

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