While preparing for a predicted significant increase in passenger demand for domestic air travel in the upcoming summer of 2022, Australian air carrier Virgin Australia is expanding its fleet. The airline will add nine additional Boeing 737-800NG Family jets.

The first delivery is scheduled in October 2021. The air carrier plans to start operating all nine new aircraft by mid-February 2022 and dedicate them all for expected holiday flights during the peak summer season of 2022. 

Virgin Australia hopes that once vaccination rates rise and interstate borders reopen, the demand for domestic air travel will rapidly increase.

“These extra aircraft are an important part of our planning and ensure we’re ready to ramp up flying and meet the pent-up demand for domestic travel as soon as the opportunity presents itself,” Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka was cited in the airline’s statement as saying.

Hrdlicka believes that once the air carrier will enlarge its fleet capacity, it will be able to reach its target of being able to serve 33% of the market in Australia. 

When the nine Boeing 737-800NGs join Virgin Australia, the airline will have a total of 77 commercial passenger jets, the Planespotters.com data indicates.