Virgin Australia has marked a milestone in its renewal program with the first delivery of the latest generation Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The introduction of the 737-8 model marks the beginning of a fleet renewal program that will see Virgin Australia acquiring a total of 33 MAX family aircraft over the next five years.
This move follows the airline’s restructuring of its aircraft order in December 2020, showcasing its commitment to modernization and sustainability.
Stuart Aggs, Chief Operations Officer of Virgin Australia, emphasized the critical role of the MAX family aircraft in the airline’s transformation.
The new aircraft not only offer passengers a more comfortable flying experience but also play a key part in Virgin Australia’s decarbonization efforts.
Aggs stated that the MAX family will enable capacity growth and support more efficient jet services, while also reducing emissions by at least 15 percent per flight compared to the existing 737-800 NG fleet.
This reduction in emissions aligns with Virgin Australia’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Fleet modernization stands as a crucial component of Virgin Australia’s sustainability agenda, contributing significantly to the airline’s interim target of reducing carbon emission intensity by 22 percent by 2030.
Aggs expressed confidence in the fleet renewal program and other fuel efficiency initiatives, which collectively aim to support over 80 percent of the 2030 interim target.
Notably, Virgin Australia’s simplified 737 fleet boasts an average age of 11.7 years, positioning the airline with one of the youngest commercial fleets in Australia.
The introduction of the 737-8 aircraft brings about several advantages for Virgin Australia. With an extended range compared to the 737-800 NG, the new aircraft will be deployed on the recently launched Cairns-Haneda route, connecting Tokyo and Far North Queensland.
Apart from enhanced fuel efficiency, the 737-8 model offers approximately 40 percent quieter operations and features new-generation seats equipped with device holders and in-seat power, elevating the overall flight experience for Virgin Australia’s guests.
In a significant gesture towards sustainability, Virgin Australia has ordered a fuel load blended with 30 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for the delivery flight’s first leg to Brisbane.
This demonstrates the airline’s commitment to exploring environmentally friendly solutions and adopting SAF as part of its operations.
The airline’s tradition of naming aircraft after Australian bodies of water continues with the 737-8 named Monkey Mia, after a location in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia, which holds the distinction of being the state’s first World Heritage-listed site since 1991.
Monkey Mia joins the ranks of more than 60 airlines globally operating over 1,000 737-8 aircraft.
Erika Pearson, Boeing Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing for Southeast Asia and Oceania, lauded the operational advantages and sustainability benefits of the MAX Family.
The advanced technology engines and winglets integrated into the MAX Family aircraft offer unparalleled efficiency in the single-aisle market.
Further 737-10 orders
In addition to the eight 737-8s, Virgin Australia has placed an order for 25 737-10s, scheduled for delivery starting next year.
With its fleet now comprising 84 primarily Boeing 737 aircraft, Virgin Australia has made remarkable progress since its relaunch in November 2020, acquiring an average of one new aircraft every five weeks.
Virgin Australia’s acquisition of the first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft signifies a major step forward in the airline’s transformation journey.