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Virgin to phase in MAX 8 domestically as more planes touch down

written by Jake Nelson | October 11, 2023

Virgin Australia’s second 737 MAX 8, VH-8IC ‘Kirra Beach’. (Image: Boeing)

Virgin Australia will roll out the 737 MAX 8 on more domestic and short-haul international routes as its fleet continues to arrive.

The airline took delivery of its second MAX 8 at the end of September, with another expected by the end of the year and the remaining five in the first half of 2024. The new plane, VH-8IC ‘Kirra Beach’, has joined VH-8IA ‘Monkey Mia’ on the Cairns–Haneda route after a brief period flying domestically.

Virgin has confirmed to Australian Aviation that as the planes arrive, the airline will look to deploy them on domestic routes servicing Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns, as well as overseas destinations such as Fiji, Bali and Samoa.

Most of Virgin’s destinations are currently served by its large 737-800 fleet, with a few 737-700s, Airbus A320-200s, and Fokker 100s also operating.

VH-8IA, the first 737 MAX 8 in the Virgin fleet, was handed over in late June after numerous delays and began serving the airline’s route to Tokyo (Haneda), which launched with 737-700s after the MAX failed to arrive on time.


Virgin Australia chief operations officer Stuart Aggs said at the time that the addition of the 737 MAX family to Virgin’s fleet will allow the airline to “grow capacity and support more efficient jet services”.

“Importantly, they will reduce emissions by at least 15 per cent per flight compared to the 737-800 NG fleet, supporting our commitment to targeting net zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

“While our approach to decarbonisation is multi-faceted, fleet modernisation is a critical part of progressing our sustainability ambitions and represents a significant opportunity to reduce our emissions intensity in the near-term.

“We expect our fleet renewal program, combined with other fuel efficiency initiatives, to support over 80 per cent of our 2030 interim target to reduce Virgin Australia’s carbon emission intensity by 22 per cent.”

The MAX 8 has a longer range than Virgin’s existing 737-800 NG aircraft.

“As well as being more fuel efficient, the 737-8 is approximately 40 per cent quieter than the current 737-800 NG fleet and comes fitted with our new generation seats, which include device holders and in-seat power,” said Aggs.

The airline has a further six MAX 8 and 25 MAX 10 aircraft on order.

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Comment (1)

  • Michael Pilling


    Guess I have to avoid Virgin then. You can’t make an aerodynamically unstable plane stable with software.

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