Virgin Australia Increases Its Boeing 737 MAX Order

Virgin Australia has announced an additional order for four Boeing 737 MAX 8s. This builds on the airline’s previous order from April and will bring the total number of Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet to eight.

The first Boeing 737 MAX 8 is expected to be delivered in February 2023, and the aircraft will seat 170 passengers in a two-class configuration – 8 in business class and 162 in economy class.

Virgin Australia also has an order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, deliveries of which are due to commence in mid-2023. These larger aircraft will accommodate a total of 204 passengers – 8 in business class and 196 in economy class.


The Boeing 737 MAX orders will complement the airline’s existing fleet of Boeing 737-800s. Photo: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia’s fleet development

As part of its ongoing fleet development, the airline’s two Boeing 737-700s are expected to move over to its regional subsidiary, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. This will leave Virgin Australia with a total fleet of 108 Boeing 737s (75 Boeing 737-800s, eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10s).

With 15% lower carbon emissions than the Boeing 737NG, the arrival of the modern Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will help Virgin Australia on its way to reaching its sustainability goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Virgin Australia recently celebrated building its workforce back up to over 7,000 employees. Photo: Virgin Australia

Additional pilot training in Western Australia

At the same time as confirming its increased Boeing 737 MAX 8 order, Virgin Australia announced plans for pilot training to be conducted at a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator in Jandakot, near Perth. As a result, the airline’s training capacity will increase by 25%.

This will be Virgin Australia’s first training facility in Western Australia, meaning that Perth-based pilots will no longer have to travel to Victoria or Queensland, where the airline’s other simulators are located. The training, delivered in partnership with global aviation training provider CAE, is due to begin in April 2023.

The airline celebrated securing the training facility, with its CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka, stating,

“I’m thrilled to announce a long-term partnership with world-class aviation training provider CAE, who will deploy a 737NG full-flight simulator for Virgin Australia at their training centre in Jandakot. Demand for 737NG simulator training is at extraordinary levels globally and securing this capacity at home is an enormous benefit to Virgin Australia, and our pilots undergoing training. This means our Western Australian pilots will have the opportunity to be trained at their home base, saving them travel time to and from the East Coast or further, while providing significant cost savings to the business and driving efficiency in our training program.”

Virgin Australia will soon face increased competition from Bonza. Photo: Bonza

A challenging few months for Virgin Australia

The past few months have not been without their challenges for Virgin Australia – the airline was recently identified as the worst performing in terms of cancelations, canceling around 6% of all flights over a three-month period. It will also shortly face increased competition from newcomer Bonza.

In spite of the challenges, Virgin Australia has nonetheless experienced an impressive recovery from the pandemic. Just two years ago, the airline’s survival was at stake, but this week it has celebrated increasing its aircraft order and building its workforce back up to over 7,000 employees.

What do you think of Virgin Australia’s increased Boeing 737 MAX 8 order? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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