Virgin Australia gets its first 737 MAX

First of 33 Boeing 737 MAX for Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia has taken delivery from Boeing of its first 737 MAX aircraft.

The MAX 8 has a longer range, is more fuel efficient and is quieter than Virgin’s existing 737-800 NG aircraft.

The 737 MAX 8 has new generation seats with include device holders and in-seat power.

The aircraft, VH-8IA or “Monkey Mia”, is one of 33 MAX family aircraft that will join the Virgin Australia fleet in the next five years. The airline has a further seven MAX 8 and 25 MAX 10 aircraft on order.

The 737 MAX aircraft are a critical part of the airline’s transformation, delivering a more comfortable passenger experience and forming the backbone of Virgin Australia’s decarbonisation ambitions.

Improvements on current Boeing fleet

Virgin Australia currently operates a fleet of over 100 aircraft:

  • 75 Boeing 737-800
  • 16 Boeing 737-700
  • 5 Airbus A320
  • 11 Fokker 100

(Fleet information from


Surprisingly, there is little information so far about Virgin Australia’s 737 MAX 8 cabin layout.

The 737 aircraft flying the route between Cairns and Tokyo Haneda has a two class layout:

  • 8 Business seats over 2 rows in a 2-2 layout
  • 168 Economy seats in a 3-3 layout

The 737 MAX 8 will probably be similar but with perhaps another row of passengers.


VH-8IA will fly domestically for a short time to familiarise crews and obtain regulatory approval before being used on the airline’s service between Cairns and Tokyo Haneda.

Virgin Australia just started that route this week. The almost 8 hour flight was intended to be the launch of the airline’s 737 MAX aircraft.

Tokyo Haneda is Virgin Australia’s sixth overseas destination, following Bali, Queenstown, Nadi, Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Apia (Samoa).#


The aircraft joins the Virgin Australia fleet under lease from global aircraft lessor China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC).

About the 737 MAX

Virgin Australia’s 737 MAX 8 is among the first to operate in Australia but joins more than 60 airlines that are operating more than 1,000 of the aircraft type globally.

Internet links

Virgin Australia (VA)

Boeing 737 MAX