Virgin Australia has announced an order for four additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, bringing its prospective Boeing 737 fleet to 92 aircraft.
According to a statement published by the airline, the Brisbane-based carrier expects delivery of the MAX 8 to start in the second half of 2023.
The news follows the airline’s earlier announcement on April 29, 2022, where it unveiled the “first phase of its fleet growth program” which would see an order for four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft being introduced to its network.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said: “Despite the challenges faced by our industry, demand for travel remains strong and we’re responding with a focus on the long-term by increasing the efficiency and sustainability of our fleet with four additional Boeing MAX 8s joining our fleet from 2023.”
Since relaunching in November 2020, Virgin Australia has favored its 737s and commenced a growth strategy to increase its 737 fleet capacity by nearly 60%.
The airline’s fleet will increase from 58 Boeing 737 aircraft to 92, and will consist of 737-700s, 737-800s and Boeing MAX 8s, the airline said.
Hrdlicka also announced Virgin Australia’s plans to support its fleet growth strategy by increasing pilot training via a partnership with global aviation training provider CAE. Through the partnership, CAE will deploy a 737NG full-flight simulator for Virgin Australia at its training center in Jandakot, near Perth, Hrdlicka said.
“Demand for 737NG simulator training is at extraordinary levels globally and securing this capacity at home is an enormous benefit to both Virgin Australia, and our pilots undergoing training,” Hrdlicka added.
With priority access to a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator in Perth from April 2023, Virgin Australia expects to increase domestic 737 training capacity by 25 per cent for more than 200 pilots based in Western Australia.