VIRGIN Australia welcomed its first Boeing 737-8 aircraft on Saturday in Brisbane, where more than 3,000 of the airline’s staff and their families gathered to celebrate the plane’s arrival. The delivery marks a major milestone in Virgin’s fleet renewal program, and is just one of 33 fuel-efficient Boeing 737-8 and 737-10 aircraft which the airline has on order.
Virgin has also revealed its new Business class and Economy cabin interior, as well as confirming plans to refresh the interior cabins on its remaining Boeing fleet, as part of a $110 million investment to improve the passenger experience. The new interiors feature in-seat power for all Business and Economy seats and larger overhead lockers that can stow up to 50% more carry-on baggage. Business class flyers will enjoy wider seats with leg rests that have extendable footrests, storage compartments, tablet/device holders and water bottle holders, while Economy customers will enjoy enhanced comfort thanks to a new seat design featuring a ribbed backing, plus a personal tablet/device holder.
The interior refresh and product upgrade of Virgin’s remaining Boeing aircraft will begin later this year, and is expected to be complete within the next two years. The project includes the installation of in-seat power for all Business class and Economy seats, as well as the installation of new Business class seats and new or refreshed Economy seats, with the design to be consistent with the new Boeing 737-8. In-flight wi-fi and complimentary in-flight entertainment (via a guest’s own personal device) will also be rolled out across most of the remaining fleet.
Additionally, a new design cabin divider will be installed between Business class and Economy, allowing for more floor space in the Economy cabin and the subsequent installation of between six and 12 additional Economy seats. The refurbishment will also include the replacement of one Economy X row with Economy seating on all Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
“Today is an important milestone for Virgin Australia as we grow and renew our fleet and continue investing in our onboard guest experience,” Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said, after witnessing the new Boeing 737-8 aircraft touch down at the airline’s Brisbane hangar.
“Sustainability is so important for the future of the airline industry globally and fleet renewal is a major step in reducing carbon emissions intensity,” she added. Alongside other fuel efficiency initiatives, the fleet renewal program is expected to support over 80% of the airline’s 2030 interim target to cut its carbon emissions by 22%.