In a big vote of confidence for Boeing, Virgin Australia Group has announced it has reached an agreement with the US company to restructure its B737 MAX order and delivery schedule.
The restructured consists of 25 B737 MAX 10s which are scheduled for delivery from mid-2023.
However, the airline has canceled the 23 B737 MAX 8s it had on order.
Virgin Australia Group chief executive and managing director Jayne Hrdlicka said the agreement represents a deep commitment to the future from the airline’s new owners, Bain Capital, and will allow Virgin Australia to appropriately manage future fleet requirements amid what has been the worst year in the history of aviation.
“We have already moved to simplify our mainline fleet and committed to the Boeing 737 aircraft as the backbone of our future domestic and short-haul international operations,” Ms Hrdlicka said.
“The restructured agreement and changes to the delivery schedule of the Boeing 737 MAX 10 gives us the flexibility to continually review our future fleet requirements, particularly as we wait for international travel demand to return.
“The MAX 10 will allow us to build on the operational flexibility we have been able to achieve with our existing fleet throughout administration to ensure we remain competitive on the other side of COVID-19.”
The airline said that recognizing the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX by the US Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators, Virgin Australia Group remains confident that global return to service plans will support its arrival in mid-2023.
“We will also continue to invest in capability that delivers a safe and efficient aircraft operation, and one that ensures safety remains our top priority. With support from Boeing, any new aircraft will undergo a careful evaluation to ensure we are comfortable with it prior to entering service.”
It said that it remains in discussions with aircraft manufacturers on a fleet strategy to support the reintroduction of widebody services when long-haul international travel demand returns.