Virgin Australia Acquires 100th B737

13th Aug 2013

Virgin Australia reached another milestone early this month with the acquisition of its 100th Boeing 737 aircraft to date.

The 100 B737 aircraft includes those acquired by the airline in the early years of its operations such as the B737-300 and -400 models which are now retired. The B737s have long been the workhorse of the airline since the early days of its operation as Virgin Blue.

The airline was founded as Virgin Blue in August 2000 with an initial fleet of two B737-400 aircraft, one of which was leased from now-defunct sister airline, Virgin Express. It renamed itself to Virgin Australia in 2011 along with a new livery.

During the transition period with its new brand and livery, the airline also introduced its new business class in its B737 aircraft, featuring the signature Boeing ?Sky Interior.?

The recent B737 addition to its fleet further boosts Boeing's 737 family of aircraft the best-selling airliner in the world since it was introduced in 1967.

The single-aisle aircraft is also favored by private business jet operators. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), for example, operates a couple of B737 for use on official trips of Australia's top government officials such as the Prime Minister and other political bigwigs. The planes are also used during the official visit of foreign dignitaries.

The maiden flight of the new B737 debuted on August 5 when it carried a group of kids and their families from the Starlight Children's Foundation.

In July 2012, Virgin Australia placed an order for 23 B737-MAX 8 aircraft which is currently under development at Boeing's factory. The B737-MAX 8 is the newest and the fourth generation of the 737 family which it will directly compete against Airbus A320neo for technological breakthroughs.

According to Boeing, the B737-MAX 8 will start delivery in 2017 but Virgin Australia will have its first aircraft by 2019. The delivery will continue through 2021 for the entire fleet of 23 aircraft.