June 28th will go down as a very important and significant day for Virgin Australia. The Aussie carrier took delivery of its latest addition to the fleet, the state of the art Boeing 737 MAX 8. Let’s take a look at the details of the delivery and how the airline will configure the plane.
The Arrival of The New Boeing 737-8
The new Virgin Australia Boeing 737 MAX 8 joins the Australian airline’s fleet under registration number VH-8IA (nicknamed Monkey Mia). The arrival of this aircraft will set in motion a significant fleet renovation process. The airline had this planned for quite some time. However due to the issues related to the covid pandemic it was forced to push the delivery of the new jets to a later date. Finally the day has come though. Virgin Australia representatives made the trip to the Boeing production plant in Seattle and will be travelling back on a very long ferry flight with the new airliner.
The planes was not bought by Virgin Australia directly from Boeing, but it part of a dry lease deal with leasing firm China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC).
The First of 33 Virgin Australia Boeing 737 MAX
This is only the first delivery of this aircraft type with the Australian Airline. There will be 32 more of the type to join the Virgin Australia fleet over the next 5 years.
Virgin Australia’s order includes:
- 8 Boeing 737 MAX 8
- 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10
The new VA Boeing 737-8s will help the airline by replacing ageing 737ng planes and allow to further expand the network to new overseas destinations. Such as the Cairns Tokyo flight that launches exactly today.
The Current Virgin Australia 737 Fleet
Although this is VA’s first 737 MAX, the carrier already operates a large number of prior versions of the jet. At the moment it features in its fleet:
- 9 Boeing 737-700
- 76 Boeing 737-800
Therefore this can be looked at in a way as a fleet upgrade for the Downunder Virgin carrier.
A ULR Delivery Flight For VA’s VH-8IA?
It’ll be an incredibly long delivery flight on a single aisle aircraft for the Virgin Australia pilots and management. VH-8IA will have to cover a distance of almost 12,000km from Seattle to Brisbane where the aircraft will be based.
How Will the Plane Be Configured?
We still don’t have any confirmation on what configuration and layout the VA 737 MAX 8 cabin will have. However it is plausible that it’ll look something like what seen on the 737-800s.
Therefore it is likely to see the 737 MAX 8 and 10 fitted with a 2 class configuration with at least 8 business class seats.