Virgin Blue is reportedly close to signing a major sale with Boeing which will include Boeing 777-200LRs for V Australia to launch direct Perth-London Gatwick services from 2011.
Australian Aviation contributor Geoffrey Thomas reports in The West Australian newspaper that the order for six 777-200LRs is part of a wider order for 70 aircraft being placed by the Virgin Blue Group, which may include up to 50 737NGs and additional 777-300ERs. CEO Brett Godfrey is reportedly in advanced negotiations with Boeing, and could announce the order soon.
If the launch is confirmed, a direct Perth-London service could slash hours off the travelling time between the two cities, which currently requires a stop in southeast Asia or the Middle East. Virgin Atlantic has previously flagged its intention to start nonstop services on the route from 2014, but delays to the 787s destined to operate it appear to have put those plans on hold.
V Australia is also reportedly considering launching nonstop Sydney-New York services with the aircraft, and is also expected to launch Sydney-Perth-Johannesburg services late next year.