Virgin Australia Group has reached an agreement with Boeing to restructure its 737 MAX order and delivery schedule.
The restructured order book now consists of 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft (pictured above) which are scheduled for delivery from mid-2023. The airline will no longer receive 25 Boeing 737 MAX 8s as per the original plan.
Virgin Australia Group CEO and managing director Jayne Hrdlicka said the agreement represents a deep commitment to the future from the airline’s new owners, Bain Capital, and will allow the airline to appropriately manage future fleet requirements amid what has been the worst year in the history of aviation.
“We have already moved to simplify our mainline fleet and committed to the Boeing 737 aircraft as the backbone of our future domestic and short-haul international operations,” she said.
“The restructured agreement and changes to the delivery schedule of the Boeing 737 MAX 10 gives us the flexibility to continually review our future fleet requirements, particularly as we wait for international travel demand to return.
“The MAX 10 will allow us to build on the operational flexibility we have been able to achieve with our existing fleet throughout administration to ensure we remain competitive on the other side of COVID-19.”
Recognising the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX by the US Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators, Virgin remains confident that global return-to-service plans will support its arrival in mid-2023.
Hrdlicka said this, alongside design features such as the Boeing Sky Interior and higher seating capacity, make for a better product for customers and the environment.
“These enhancements will give us the ability to manage demand and deploy the B737 MAX 10 on high-density domestic and short-haul international routes, or where there are constraints due to slot availability limitations,” she said.
“We will also continue to invest in capability that delivers a safe and efficient aircraft operation, and one that ensures safety remains our top priority.
“With support from Boeing, any new aircraft will undergo careful evaluation to ensure we are comfortable with it prior to entering service.”
Virgin remains in discussions with aircraft manufacturers on a fleet strategy to support the reintroduction of widebody services when long-haul international travel demand returns.