VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: New Boeing 737-8 MAX arrives in Australia
Virgin Australia received its brand spanking new Boeing 737-8 MAX from Seatle (via Hawai and in Brisbane) on 30 June. It’s the first of an ordered 8 to arrive over the next few years.
Virgin Australia has been using Australian bodies of water as the names for its fleet. This aircraft has been christened ‘Monkey Mia’. After some domestic routes for crew familiarisation, it will hit the Cairns-Tokyo route from 30 July, according to ET.
Virgin Australia will use the 737-8 MAX for the expansion of its l international destinations, including Tokyo, Fiji and Bali. Expect to see the aircraft on the triangle of Sydney Melbourne Brisbane and east-to-west coast flights to Perth. Virgin Australia is also expecting 25 of the even bigger 737-MAX -10 aircraft to arrive from 2024.
Virgin Australia has commissioned new interiors for the MAX jets over the Business and Economy cabins. They have been trialling this on select aircraft in their existing fleet. Business Class seats have AC and USB sockets in the armrests plus a footrest and storage pocket.
In Economy, expect some additional legroom due to a slimmer profile, which in my book means a harder seat. There will also be a fold-out device holder for your smartphone or tablet and a USB port.
The Boeing 737-8 MAX jets have had a bumpy history, including two crashes killing all onboard. The aircraft was suspended from flight for close to two years while its soft and hardware were assessed, and its software revised. It is probably now the most analysed plane in the sky. Despite other minor faults being discovered since the suspension, airline authorities now agree it is safe to fly.
It won’t be my aircraft of choice, but neither will I refuse to fly on one. I have already. I’m looking forward to the new seats on board.