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In what will undoubtedly be hailed by the airline as another chapter in its extraordinary turnaround since collapsing into administration just over three years ago in April 2020, before being saved and rebooted under new owners Bain Capital, Virgin Australia’s first Boeing 737 MAX is scheduled to arrive in Brisbane this Thursday afternoon, 29 June.
The “Monkey Mia” aircraft is the first of Virgin’s eight MAX 8 aircraft that the airline has ordered from Boeing. It will be used on the airline’s Cairns-Tokyo (Haneda) route when it launches on 30 July. In the interim, domestic routes will be served.
Virgin had been anticipating the arrival of its first MAX 8 aircraft, seen on test flights in the US state of Washington last month but has experienced substantial delays because of problems at Boeing. The airline declared that the first aircraft would arrive in Australia this month two weeks ago.
Virgin Australia states, “The arrival of Monkey Mia is a significant milestone in our fleet renewal programme and broader transformation.” Seven more 737-8s will be added to the fleet during the ensuing years.
For its MAX fleet, Virgin is planning a rising number of domestic and short-haul international routes in addition to Cairns-Tokyo, including the Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle, east-west services to Perth, and international hops to Bali and Fiji.
Virgin has 25 of the bigger 737 MAX 10 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2024 and eight 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
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