Virgin Australia will expand its fleet by adding four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in a bid to meet growing travel demand and replace its older aircraft. The new MAX 8s are expected to enter service in February 2023.
“This investment in our fleet reflects the increased demand we are experiencing in all parts of Virgin Australia,” Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement dated April 29, 2022.
Previously, the airline said that it will no longer receive the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and instead will only take deliveries of the higher capacity 737 MAX 10 aircraft. Currently, Virgin Australia has 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft on order.
Since its re-launch in November 2020, the airline group has announced it will increase its 737 fleet by more than 50%, taking the total number of aircraft from 58 to 88 by 2023 to meet higher demand.
In addition to the Boeing 737s, the airline group currently operates 10 Fokker 100 aircraft across its operations in Western Australia. The F100 fleet will be gradually transitioned out and replaced by 737-700s from the first quarter of 2023.
“Equipping our WA operation with more modern and efficient 737 aircraft positions us to grow and to better compete in the resources sector and contract flying market across Australia. It also enables Virgin Australia to improve fleet utilization across the Group,” Hrdlicka added.
In its statement, the airline also announced that it was on track to reach 100% of pre-COVID-19 capacity by June 2022. Virgin Australia expects to exceed the pre-pandemic capacity levels by year’s end.