As part of the carrier’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions and fleet growth program, Virgin Australia will add four new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft from February 2023. The airline will also replace their Fokker 100s with Boeing 737-700s.
On Friday (April 29, 2022), Virgin Australia unveiled the first phase of their fleet growth program, as part of their commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, originally announced in November 2021. The carrier will add four new fuel-efficient Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft to their fleet from February 2023, and will also phase out their Fokker 100s, replacing them with Boeing 737-700s. The MAX jets will reduce emissions by 15 percent compared to Virgin Australia’s current 737 NG aircraft, while the 737-700s will offer more capacity with similar fuel usage versus a F100, resulting in 30 percent less emissions per seat. With the four new 737-8 MAX aircraft, Virgin Australia’s fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft will grow to 88 aircraft.
In Friday’s announcement, Virgin Australia’s CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka, said,
“We are on track to return to 100% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by June this year and expect to well exceed those levels by year’s end, and our resources sector and contract flying in WA is in high demand. This investment in our fleet reflects the increased demand we are experiencing in all parts of Virgin Australia. With growth comes a larger carbon footprint, so it’s vital that we take the right steps now to ensure that as we do more flying, we are also working to reduce our emissions.
“We have a younger average fleet age than other airlines operating in the Australian market and we are in a good position to phase out our older F100 aircraft for more fuel-efficient options. This fleet program is about making sure we capitalise upon that advantage as we work toward achieving our 33% domestic market share, strengthen our resources sector and contract flying, and continue on our journey to Net Zero.
“This program is as much about investing in our people as it is investing in our operations. We are committed to building this business and positioning it for success into the long term. Continuing to modernise our fleet and develop the capability of our teams across Australia to support newer aircraft is an essential part of that success. Equipping our WA operation with more modern and efficient 737 aircraft positions us to grow and to better compete in the resources sector and contract flying market across Australia. It also enables Virgin Australia to improve fleet utilisation across the Group.
“Existing F100 flight and cabin crew, VARA engineering and support staff and corporate and operations functions will be progressively trained to operate and maintain a 737 NG fleet, both as F100 aircraft are retired and as the airline continues to grow its WA resources sector and contract flying business.”
The Virgin Australia Group currently operates a fleet of 10 Fokker 100s across operations in Western Australia, which will gradually be transitioned to 737-700s from the first quarter of 2023. The airline also has 25 additional Boeing 737-10 MAX aircraft on order, which will offer a 17 percent reduction in emissions per seat compared to the carrier’s current 737 NG fleet. The Group will also continue to operate Airbus A320s as part of their resource sector and contract flying operations.
Source: Virgin Australia