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Virgin adds four more 737 MAX 8s

written by Adam Thorn | August 24, 2022

Virgin first ordered the Boeing 737 MAX in 2012. (Boeing)

Virgin has announced it will acquire another four MAX 8s to take its total domestic fleet to 92 Boeing 737 aircraft.

It marks a significant increase from its original intention of having just 58 aircraft when it emerged from administration.

Chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said “I am delighted that this week we have reached another major milestone with our team growing to over 7,000 team members, which is a real indication of the growth delivered in a very short time by Virgin Australia.

“We are passionate about creating the best employee experience in Australian aviation, and attracting around 2,000 people to our airline in just under two years is testament to the priority we place on our team members.”

The business also revealed it had signed a partnership with training provider CAE to use its 737NG full-flight simulator in Jandakot, near Perth.


Australian Aviation first reported in 2020 that Virgin had renegotiated its order with Boeing for the 737 MAX.

Previously, the business intended to purchase 25 MAX 10s and an additional 23 smaller MAX 8s, which were cut completely.

The new order announced on Wednesday, however, means the airline will now receive eight of the smaller 8 variants, after making a previous order for four in April.

Virgin is set to retire its older Fokker 100 aircraft from early next year and replace them with 737-700s, which it estimates will result in 30 per cent less emissions per seat, per trip.

The airline group currently operates 10 Fokker 100s across its operations in Western Australia.

“Despite the challenges faced by our industry, demand for travel remains strong and we’re responding with a focus on the long-term by increasing the efficiency and sustainability of our fleet with four additional Boeing MAX 8s joining our fleet from 2023,” said Hrdlicka.

“I’m also thrilled today to announce 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 centre in Jandakot, near Perth.  Demand for 737NG simulator training is at extraordinary levels globally and securing this capacity at home is an enormous benefit to both Virgin Australia, and our pilots undergoing training.”

Australian Aviation reported earlier this month that Virgin is on the lookout for new first officers to crew its growing fleet of Boeing 737s, including the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 10, with the “lowest minimum” flight-hour requirements seen in recent times for narrow-body aircraft.

It comes as the industry navigates a global shortage of qualified pilots, which has resulted in Australian pilots taking up roles overseas, as air travel markets abroad open up quicker than Australia’s domestic market.

According to a recruitment advertisement, the airline is taking on non-type rated pilots with a minimum requirement of 500 total command flight hours on any fixed-wing aircraft, and a minimum of 200 hours command on a multi-engined aircraft, alongside all other standard license and medical requirements.

These experience-related requirements fall far below those of startup budget airline Bonza, which was also recently recruiting for pilots on its fleet of 737 MAX jets.

Virgin said its additional aircraft supported capacity increases in line with its broader growth strategy, bringing the total Boeing 737 fleet to 92 (consisting of 737-700s, 737-800s and Boeing MAX 8s), an increase of nearly 60 per cent since relaunching in November 2020.

The first delivery of the additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is expected in 2023.

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Comments (2)

  • John Genovese


    I would fly about four times annually and because I enjoyed the service I have made Virgin my go to airline. I am anticipating travelling overseas annually to visit relatives in Italy and Slovenia but I will only fly out from Adelaide(1 stop is enough). Let me know if Virgin has an arrangement with OSAirlines that depart from Adelaide.

    I really like all flights I’ve taken with Virgin. Your teams are tops.
    John Genovese

  • Rod Pickin


    Yes I am thrilled that VOZ is getting bigger but I think they should re-analyse where they are going and more importantly, how they intend to get there. VOZ say that they don’t expect to go to the market for about 2-3 years which means the likes of HSBC etal at this time are not interested in airline investment so VOZ as it has indicated has to move on. Their intention to stick with the B737 albeit it the Max 8 I maintain will inhibit the enterprises abilities to keep up and or accelerate away from the competition. We must remember that by restricting our flexibilities we also restrict our profit bottom line so we must change! I maintain that VOZ would be better off commercially and operationally by buying/leasing B787-8 equipment and not the B737 Max 8. The B787-8 can operate into and out of almost all of our states coastal mainline ports thus catering for seasonal high load scheduling, is ideal for endurance critical sectors, eg DPS and transcontinental ops and, if and when they take up obvious options of returning to NRT the right equipment is on hand. I believe that there is a better option available than the B787-8 but I think Bain would discount that view immediately. Time will tell.

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