Virgin Australia cuts order for troubled Boeing jets

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-30 11:17:13|Editor: Xiaoxia
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SYDNEY, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Virgin Australia has drastically decreased and deferred its upcoming order of 38 new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, the company's Chief Executive Paul Scurrah informed the Australian Securities Exchange on Tuesday.

Plagued with software faults that are suspected of playing a role in two recent airline tragedies, Virgin Australia will take just 23 of the troubled aircraft with the delivery date pushed back from November this year to February 2025.

"Safety is always the number one priority for Virgin Australia," Scurrah said.

"As we have previously stated, we will not introduce any new aircraft to the fleet unless we are completely satisfied with its safety."

Concerns about the plane were first brought to public light in October last year, when a domestic Lion Air flight in Indonesia crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.

In March 2019, a second Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines in Africa and bound for Kenya's Nairobi also went down moments after takeoff, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members.

With aviation experts around the world fearing the aircraft's newly installed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which automatically lowers the nose of the plane in the event of an imminent stall, could be at fault, a number of countries took steps to ground the aircraft in the interest of safety.

Although Virgin Australia has decided to cut their 737 MAX 8 order, the airline has agreed to increase its request for 737 MAX 10 aircraft.

The company is now set to take 25 of the aircraft, bringing forward the scheduled delivery from January 2022 to July 2021.

"We are confident in Boeing's commitment to returning the 737 MAX to service safely and as a long-term partner of Boeing, we will be working with them through this process," Scurrah said.

"The revised timing also results in the number of positive commercial benefits for the Group."

"This includes a significant deferral of capital expenditure by extending the use of existing aircraft given the relatively young age of our fleet along with providing the Group earlier access to the superior operating economics of the MAX 10 aircraft."