24 August 2022 | Sustainability

Virgin Australia expands Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet and secures access to full-flight simulator in Perth

  • Virgin Australia has announced four additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will join its fleet with delivery starting in the second half of 2023, increasing capacity in line with the airline’s fleet growth program and journey towards Net Zero.
  • Virgin Australia has secured priority access to a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator in Perth which will deliver a 25 per cent increase in domestic training capacity for more than 200 pilots based in Western Australia who are retraining on the aircraft type as the airline continues its growth of Boeing 737 aircraft.
  • Simulator access will be available as soon as April 2023 through a long-term partnership with global aviation training provider CAE.
  • With the airline relaunching less than two years ago, Virgin Australia has marked another major milestone this week, celebrating growing its workforce to over 7,000 team members.

Virgin Australia Group has today announced four additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and priority access to a Boeing 737NG full-flight simulator that will be deployed in Jandakot, near Perth, as part of a long-term partnership with global aviation training provider CAE.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which are in addition to another four MAX 8 aircraft announced in April 2022, will reduce emissions by 15 per cent per flight* and play an important part in Virgin Australia’s Net Zero journey. These additional aircraft support capacity increases in-line with Virgin Australia’s broader growth strategy bringing total Boeing 737 fleet to 92 (consisting of 737-700s, 737-800s and Boeing MAX 8s) an increase of nearly 60 per cent since relaunching in November 2020. First delivery of the additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is expected in 2023.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said today’s announcements demonstrate the airline’s commitment to the Australian aviation market and to sustainably grow its fleet for long-term success.

Ms Hrdlicka said the key to Virgin Australia’s success in remaining Australia’s most loved airline is undoubtedly its people and increasing domestic 737 training capacity by 25 per cent is a major win for the airline.

“Not only will we have increased pilot training capacity shortly, I am delighted that this week we have reached another major milestone with our team growing to over 7,000 team members, which is a real indication of the growth delivered in a very short time by Virgin Australia. Today is not only about investing in our operations, but our people too.  We are passionate about creating the best employee experience in Australian aviation and attracting around 2,000 people to our airline in just under two years is testament to the priority we place on our team members.”

“The future of Virgin Australia is bright, and today’s announcements highlight our commitment to maintain strong competition for Australians who want to travel and experience great value. It also underscores our confidence in our underlying performance and commitment to Net Zero carbon emmissions by 2050. 

“Despite the challenges faced by our industry, demand for travel remains strong and we’re responding with a focus on the long-term by increasing the efficiency and sustainability of our fleet with four additional Boeing MAX 8s joining our fleet from 2023.

“I’m also thrilled today to announce a long-term partnership with world-class aviation training provider CAE, who will deploy a 737NG full-flight simulator for Virgin Australia at their training centre in Jandakot, near Perth.  Demand for 737NG simulator training is at extraordinary levels globally and securing this capacity at home is an enormous benefit to both Virgin Australia, and our pilots undergoing training.

“Today is a great day for our pilots and for Perth. The continued focus on investment in people, aircraft and infrastructure is important to our business and the added activity in Perth will be great for many of our existing partners in Western Australia. 

“This means our Western Australian pilots will have the opportunity to be trained at their home base, saving them travel time to and from the East Coast or further, while providing significant cost savings to the business and driving efficiency in our training program.

“This is the first time we will have a simulator outside of Queensland or Victoria, and while Virgin Australia’s home will always be in the Sunshine State, it demonstrates the growth and importance of our business in Western Australia and of the state to Virgin Australia.”

DOWNLOAD Virgin Australia Boeing 737 MAX 8 flyover footage.

DOWNLOAD image of Virgin Australia Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.


Virgin Australia announced its commitment to Net Zero Emissions by 2050 in November last year. In addition to its fleet program the airline is also actively building out its wider sustainability strategy, including investigating operational efficiencies, the use of alternative fuels, and waste management and carbon offsetting programs. 


*Compared with 737NG aircraft


Virgin Australia Group is a major Australian airline headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. The company operates scheduled domestic and short-haul international flights, charter and cargo services, and the award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer. The Group has been a competitor in the Australian aviation landscape for more than 20 years, carrying tens of millions of passengers in that time. Virgin Australia boasts more than 10.8 million Velocity members who can use their Points to redeem flights around Australia and to hundreds of destinations around the world through Virgin Australia and the airline’s extensive list of international partner carriers.

Following its successful relaunch in 2020, Virgin Australia has been working on a plan to set itself up for future success, simplifying its fleet structure to an all-Boeing 737 fleet and making significant investments in technology and customer experience. Virgin Australia has also committed to a target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050, underpinned by practical, innovative initiatives designed to build from the airline’s historical efforts in sustainability.

Virgin Australia is incredibly focused on providing great travel experiences, optionality to fly the way you want to, and value through unrivalled airfare pricing. Virgin Australia currently offers travellers a choice to book three seating options: Business Class, Economy X and Economy on services all throughout Australia and leading short-haul international destinations. Since November 2020, Virgin Australia has announced it will increase its Boeing 737 fleet by 58 per cent, from 58 to 92 aircraft.

Virgin Australia is focused on being Australia’s most loved airline and has won many awards over the years including Best Domestic Airline, Best Economy Class and most recently in 2022 being awarded Best Cabin Crew. Velocity Frequent Flyer has also scooped a wealth of prestigious gongs including the Freddie Awards Best Program of the Year and Best Redemption Ability for Asia/Middle East and Oceania.


At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, airlines, defence and security forces, and healthcare practitioners to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest. Around the globe, we’re everywhere customers need us to be with more than 13,000 employees in more than 200 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight and mission simulators, surgical manikins, and personalized training programs powered by artificial intelligence. We’re investing our time and resources into building the next generation of cutting-edge, digitally immersive training and critical operations solutions while keeping positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact at the core of our mission. Today and tomorrow, we’ll make sure our customers are ready for the moments that matter.