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Virgin hints it will expand international network

written by Adam Thorn | October 20, 2022

New Virgin 737 MAX order resized
An artist’s impression of a Boeing 737 MAX 10 in Virgin Australia livery (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka has hinted her airline could expand its shorter-haul international network as demand returns.

Speaking at Thursday’s Flight Centre Illuminate summit in Sydney, Hrdlicka said “We’re looking at a world of possibilities and extending our reach.

“We’re very focused on our 737 aircraft footprint. We’ve got 737-700s and 800s, and we’ve got MAX-8 and 10s coming into the fleet that gives us a bit more range, and so we will be adding to the network.”

It comes after the business in August announced it would acquire another four MAX 8s to take its total domestic fleet to 92 Boeing 737 aircraft. It marked a significant increase from its original intention of having just 58 aircraft when it emerged from administration.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Hrdlicka would not be drawn on specifics but said the recovery in international travel was not a “short-term sugar hit” but part of a more sustainable bounce back.


“The total market demand right now feels about what it should be if the music hadn’t stopped … If you look at GDP growth 2019 to now, the capacity is not quite there yet but underlying demand is where you’d expect it to be,” she said.

“Leisure is going to remain very strong. Small and medium-sized business is back well over where it was in 2019. Big business, the amount of money that is being spent is there, but the number of trips is lower.”

Virgin currently flies shorter haul international destinations such as Bali and Fiji, and partners with larger carriers such as United, Singapore and Qatar to fly further afield.

The business is thought to have performed far better than initial expectations after it emerged from administration in 2020 with new owners.

Its total workforce has now grown to more than 7,000 after attracting 2,000 additional staff in the past two years.

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 this year 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.

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Comments (4)

  • Mike Sparkes


    I will be avoiding Boeing 737 Max aircraft where possible.

  • Ashley


    Good luck getting pax on-board a Boeing 738MAX.

    Did Virgin get ‘em at a cut-down price?

  • Maureen Brown


    Hurry up and resume Auckland NZ flights so I can use the credit Virgin have refused to pay me and my friend

  • Neil


    After hearing about so many issues with the Boeing 737 Max, I think I would be giving it a wide birth, not to mention even travelling on a Boeing 737 on any proposed lengthy international routes due to being uncomfortable with insufficient leg room.

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