Virgin Australia to take on 737 MAX 10
After placing their order for 23 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in 2012 and then converting an order of 17 737-800s to MAX 8s in 2015, Virgin Australia has again adjusted their order book, this time converting 10 MAX 8s to the larger MAX 10.
The first of 40 MAX aircraft expected to join the Virgin Australia fleet will arrive in November of 2019 after being pushed back by the airline in previous times. The first MAX 10 will arrive on Australian soil in 2022.
Virgin Australia states it saw the value of adding the MAX 10 to the mix as the aircraft will provide additional capacity and flexibility.
Chief Financial Officer of Virgin Australia said:
“We are pleased to be welcoming the 737 MAX 10 aircraft into our expanding fleet in 2022. The addition of the 737 MAX 10 will provide us with additional flexibility and capability to support our network and operations. We are proud to become Australia’s first operator of the 737 MAX and we look forward to the opportunities that operating this type of aircraft will open up to us”.
No comment has been made about the routes selected for the aircraft, it’s likely that it will operate the busy Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane network which is always in action with holiday goers and businesses.
Even before the re-brand to Virgin Australia, the airline has always had the Boeing 737 as its signature aircraft. With just over 80 737 NG aircraft in operation, the MAX is expected to carry on the aircraft’s legacy of performing efficiently and reliably on the various domestic and select international routes in the airlines network.
So far, the Boeing 737 MAX 10 – the largest of the MAX family – has gained over 500 orders and commitments from airlines all around the world.
Two CFM LEAP-1B engines power the aircraft but due to the MAX 10 being longer, the landing gear has to be heightened to accommodate for the 176cm fan diameter engines and to be able to takeoff safely.
Virgin Australia’s competitor, Qantas, is understood to be assessing performance details between the Airbus A320neo family and the Boeing 737 MAX. The carrier has already placed an order for the A320neo family, including A321LRs, for its low-cost carrier Jetstar.
For now, Qantas is focusing on their wide body assessment for Project Sunrise. You can expect an article about this soon.