VA raises MAX-8 order

The Aussie carrier has added six of the new-generation aircraft to its existing order, Janie Medbury reports.

THE additions means Virgin Australia now has a total of 14 MAX-8 planes on order, with the first to arrive from the US at the airline’s home base in Brisbane this afternoon, and the rest scheduled for delivery throughout 2024. As well as being 40% quieter, the new aircraft will reduce carbon emissions by at least 15% compared to older generation 737s, bringing the Virgin closer to its 2030 ambition of reducing emissions by 22%, as well as its 2050 net-zero goal.

Meanwhile, the airline’s existing order of 25 x MAX-10s remains in place, set to be delivered from late 2025. The larger MAX-10s will boast bigger capacity, with the ability to carry more passengers for a similar amount of fuel to current 737 aircraft, resulting in 17% less emissions per seat per trip.

“Travel demand remains high and we continue to grow and renew our fleet, enabling us to deliver great value and choice in the market,” Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley said. “We are investing in our fleet to best meet our customers’ needs while positioning the business for success in the long-term. A more modern, sustainable, and streamlined fleet is central to our ongoing transformation.”

The carrier will ramp up its transformation within the coming days by kick-starting a $110 million refresh and product upgrade across its existing fleet of 737s. The project will see in-seat power installed across all Business class and Economy seats, while the Business cabin will gain all-new seats and Economy is set to receive new or refreshed seats, with the design consistent with the new MAX-8.

Virgin  will also introduce in-flight wi-fi and complimentary in-flight entertainment (via a guest’s own personal device) to aircraft not yet upgraded for wi-fi. The entire project will take 18-24 months to complete, with the first refitted aircraft expected to come out of maintenance in Melbourne in early December.

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