Virgin Australia declares a growing fleet, at the same time as confirming its commitment to pilot training in Western Australia.
Virgin Australia has declared an additional order for 4 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. This builds on the airline’s previous order from April and will bring the total number of Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet to eight.
The 1st Boeing 737 MAX 8 is expected to be delivered in February 2023, and the aircraft will seat 170 passengers in a two-class configuration – 8 in business class and 162 in economy class.
Virgin Australia also has an order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, deliveries of which are due to commence in mid-2023. These larger aircraft will accommodate a total of 204 passengers – 8 in business class and 196 in economy class
As part of its ongoing fleet development, the airline’s 2 Boeing 737-700s are expected to move over to its regional subsidiary, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. This will leave Virgin Australia with a total fleet of 108 Boeing 737s (75 Boeing 737-800s, eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s, and 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10s).
Virgin Australia declared plans for pilot training
With 15% lower carbon emissions than the Boeing 737NG, the coming of the modern Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will support Virgin Australia on its way to reaching its sustainability goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
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At the same time as confirming its risen Boeing 737 MAX 8 order, Virgin Australia declared plans for pilot training to be conducted at a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator in Jandakot, near Perth. As a result, the airline’s training capacity will increase by 25%.
This will be Virgin Australia’s 1st training facility in Western Australia, meaning that Perth-based pilots will no longer have to journey to Victoria or Queensland, where the airline’s other simulators are located. The training, delivered in partnership with global aviation training provider CAE, is due to begin in April 2023.
“I’m thrilled to declare a long-term partnership with world-class aviation training provider CAE, who will deploy a 737NG full-flight simulator for Virgin Australia at their training center in Jandakot.
Western Australian pilots
Demand for 737NG simulator training is at extraordinary levels globally and securing this capacity at home is an enormous benefit to Virgin Australia, and our pilots undergoing training. This means our Western Australian pilots will have the chance to be trained at their home base, saving them travel time to and from the East Coast or further, while providing significant cost savings to the business and driving efficiency in our training program.”
The past few months have not been without their challenges for Virgin Australia – the airline was recently identified as the worst performing in terms of cancelations, revoking approximately 6% of all flights over a three-month period. It will also shortly face raised competition from newcomer Bonza.
In spite of the challenges, Virgin Australia has nonetheless experienced an impressive recovery from the pandemic. Just 2 years ago, the airline’s survival was at stake, but this week it has celebrated boosting its aircraft order and building its workforce back up to over 7,000 staff.
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