The airline has increased its order of 737 MAX-8 aircraft from Boeing from eight to 14. All six aeroplanes will arrive in Australia in the second half of 2024.
The MAX-8 airliners will reduce emissions by at least 15 per cent per flight compared to the older Boeing 737s, which make up the majority of Virgin’s fleet.
Virgin has committed to reducing its carbon intensity by 22 per cent by 2030 and reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The airline is also expecting 25 MAX-10s from Boeing, starting to arrive into Virgin’s fleet in late 2025 which will also result in lower carbon emissions – a reduction of approximately 17 per cent per seat – as these aircraft are able to carry more passengers with the same amount of fuel as the 737s currently in service.
“Travel demand remains high and we continue to grow and renew our fleet, enabling us to deliver great value and choice in the market,” said Virgin Australia’s chief strategy and transformation officer, Alistair Hartley:
“We are investing in our fleet to best meet our customers’ needs while positioning the business for success in the long-term. A more modern, sustainable, and streamlined fleet is central to our ongoing transformation.”
Virgin is also embarking on a $110 million refurbishment of its existing 737 aircraft, with the body of work expected to take between 18 months and two years. The refurbishment will upgrade the fit out of the older aircraft and bring the seating in line with the MAX-8 aircraft that Virgin is set to receive.
The decarbonisation of commercial aviation and freight will have a major impact on the business events industry’s ability to reach net zero. Fleet investments being made by Virgin and Qantas allow organisers to make aviation decisions which align with their carbon reduction goals for their events.