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Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737s on Journey to Net Zero

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DALLAS – Four new Boeing 737-8 aircraft and a set of Boeing 737-700s are heading to Australia.

Virgin Australia Group (VA) has revealed the first phase of its fleet growth program, which is an important step in the airline’s commitment toward Net-Zero. Retired as part of this program will be the airline’s F100s which the 700s are replacing.

The MAX aircraft should be flying by February 2023. The airline says those planes will reduce emissions by 15% per journey compared to the current Boeing 737NG aircraft. As for the -700s, each plane will fly more passengers than the F100 for a similar amount of fuel, resulting in 30% fewer emissions per seat per trip.

This fleet program is part of a broader growth strategy that will see VA’s Boeing 737 fleet increase to 88 with the inclusion of four MAX version-8 aircraft. The new aircraft are being purchased as the airline has seen increasing demand. 

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said, “We are on track to return to 100% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by June this year and expect to exceed those levels by year’s end. Our resources sector and contract flying in WA are in high demand. This investment in our fleet reflects the increased demand we are experiencing in all parts of Virgin Australia.

Virgin-1-1024x732.jpgPhoto: Virgin Australia

Toward Net Zero

“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.” 

Hrdlicka notes that VA has a younger average fleet age than other airlines operating in the Australian market. She says that the airline is in a good position to phase out its older F100 aircraft in favor of more fuel-efficient options. 

“This fleet program is about making sure we capitalize 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.” 

Virgin-2-1024x732.jpgPhoto: Virgin Australia

Opportunity Awaits

In addition to the environmental considerations, the airline says this new fleet program will bring a wealth of opportunities to Virgin Australia team members.

“This program is as much about investing in our people as it is about investing in our operations,” Hrdlicka said. “We are committed to building this business and positioning it for success in the long term. Continuing to modernize our fleet and develop the capability of our teams across Australia to support newer aircraft is an essential part of that success.”

According to the airline, equipping its WA operation with more modern and efficient 737 aircraft positions it to grow and to better compete in the resources sector and contract flying market across Australia. It also enables Virgin Australia to improve fleet utilization 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,” Hrdlicka continued.

Featured image: Virgin Australia Boeing 737-8/ Render: Boeing

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