Virgin Blue is looking to take advantage of depressed prices for new airliners in negotiating with Boeing to buy 30 to 50 new 737s, CEO Brett Godfrey said on September 16.
The VB boss said the airline was “in the market” for at least 30 and up to 50 737s to take advantage of the current buyers’ market for new airliners, much in the way the airline placed a big 737 commitment in the wake of September 11. “Now is the time to look,” Godfrey told a National Aviation Press Club luncheon, saying the new aircraft would be worth some $3-4 billion.
Godfrey suggested the new aircraft would replace existing aircraft in the VB fleet, noting that many of the current 737 fleet “come off lease in a big way from 2011”, and that the airline was not planning on extending those leases. He said discussions with Boeing on the new orders “are taking place now”.
According to Boeing’s website, Virgin Blue has so far ordered 52 737s (all -800s) direct from the manufacturer (with the latest order for five placed in March this year), of which 28 have been delivered. At the time of writing it was unclear if the 30-50 737s Virgin Blue is negotiating to buy is in addition to the 34 as yet undelivered 737s on order from Boeing, of if VB is renegotiating the existing buy.
Virgin Blue and its Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue and V Australia subsidiaries currently operate 82 737s, E-Jets and 777-300ERs.