Virgin Australia: 10 more planes and 220 staff back to work
Things seem to be going well for CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and Virgin Australia.
Alan Joyce might be claiming to have swiped 30% off their business customers, but Virgin is doing well enough to lease 10 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and return 220 staff – mainly ex-international and now-defunct Tiger Airways back into the reborn airline.
That’s not bad for an airline thrown into administration by the pandemic last year, but now running around 850 weekly return flights in domestic operations. Virgin suspended all its international operations, returning its 777 fleet to lessors, and selling the planes it actually owned.
Hrdlicka in an interview with Fran Kelly on Radio National Breakfast this morning said Virgin were eager to get back to short-haul international flying including New Zealand, Bali, the Pacific and Japan. Virgin has already announced its intention to return to Trans-Tasman flying in September.
To fly to Bali and Japan, Virgin is going to need more than its newly swollen fleet of 68 Boeing 737-800s. The maximum they can fly is 3,695 km whereas Sydney to Tokyo is about 7,818 km.
It would be good for Virgin to return to international flying, especially around the region. However, that’s a lot of investment, and a whole lot of risk, especially with the opening of Australia’s borders and the vaccine rollout both up in the air.
If I was a betting man – I’d think that 2021 is optimistic, and would be putting my money on 2022.