Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has indicated that the company may expand its short-haul international network if demand recovers.
During her presentation at last week’s Flight Centre Illuminate event in Sydney, Hrdlicka said, “We’re looking at a world of possibilities and expanding our reach.”
We’re laser-focused on expanding our fleet of 737 planes. We have 737-700s and 737-800s, and we’re getting MAX-8s and MAX-10s that will give us a little more range, so we’ll be expanding our service area.
This follows the company’s August announcement that it will add four 737 MAX 8s to its fleet, bringing the total number of domestic aircraft flown by the company to ninety-two. After emerging from bankruptcy, the company’s goal had been to raise its fleet size to 58 planes; this represented a significant increase.
According to the AFR’s report, Hrdlicka declined to provide further details. Still, she did say that the uptick in international tourism was more than just a “short-term sugar hit.”
“The current overall market demand seems around what it would be if the music hadn’t ceased… It’s not quite there yet, but underlying demand is where you’d expect it to be if you look at GDP growth from 2019 to now,” she added.
The leisure sector will continue to thrive. The recovery of the SMB sector is considerably ahead of where it was at the beginning of the year. It’s a big operation, and the money spent is there, but fewer flights are being taken.
Right now, Virgin only flies to short-haul overseas destinations like Bali and Fiji. Still, it has alliances with major airlines like United, Singapore, and Qatar to get passengers to more international destinations.
After emerging from bankruptcy in 2020 under new ownership, the company is said to have exceeded all previous projections for its performance.
After hiring an additional 2000 people over the past two years, its workforce is currently over 7,000.
The company’s original plan was to acquire 25 MAX 10s in addition to 23 MAX 8s; however, this was eliminated.
The airline first ordered four of the smaller eight versions in April, but with the announcement of the fresh order this year, they will receive eight.
Early next year, Virgin will phase out its fleet of Fokker 100 planes in favour of 737-700s. According to the company’s calculations, this change would reduce the airline’s carbon footprint by 30 percent.
There are now ten Fokker 100s used by the airline in Western Australia.