A team from Virgin Australia was in Seattle this week to take delivery of the carrier’s first Boeing 737-8 aircraft.
Picking up a new plane is a big deal anytime. But this is the first of 33 MAX family aircraft the carrier plans to take delivery of over the next five years. The order includes eight 737-8s and twenty-five 737-10s.
This first 737-8 For Virgin Australia is registered as VH-8IA and is named Monkey Mia.
The name is in line with Virgin Australia’s tradition of naming its aircraft after Australian bodies of water. And Monkey Mia is in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia, which became Western Australia’s first World Heritage-listed site in 1991.
The plane is flying from Seattle to Brisbane, Australia with a stopover in Hawaii and leaves Seattle with a fuel load that includes 30 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
“These new aircraft will allow us to grow capacity and support more efficient jet services,” said Virgin Australia Chief Operations Officer Stuart Aggs. He noted that these MAX aircraft are a critical part of the airline’s decarbonization plans and “will reduce emissions by at least 15 percent per flight compared to the 737-800 NG fleet, supporting our commitment to targeting net zero emissions by 2050.”
In addition to being fuel efficient, the 737-8 is approximately 40 percent quieter than Virgin Australia’s current 737-800 NG fleet and has the airline’s new generation seats, which include device holders and in-seat power.
On a tour of Boeing’s 737 plant in Renton, WA, the Virgin Australia team was able to see the unique “hay loader” system Boeing uses to deliver new airline seats from the factory floor onto planes.