Planes To Be Painted... Orange-ish?
Boeing and Virgin Blue Holdings confirmed Wednesday the
Brisbane-based company has ordered six Boeing 777-300ER (Extended
Range) jetliners, with options for six more, and will lease one
additional 777-300ER. Boeing says the new planes will allow Virgin
Blue to establish its new long-haul airline, providing service from
Australia to the United States and other destinations.
The six-airplane order is valued at US$1.5 billion at list
prices. Virgin Blue currently operates a fleet of 53 737s.
Speaking of the erstwhile narrowbodies, Boeing also announced
Virgin Blue exercised options for five 737-800s that were
attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's Orders and
Deliveries Web site in late 2006. These airplanes are valued at
"We've had great success with the Next-Generation Boeing 737
aircraft and we did extensive research into the selection of
aircraft type for our new long-haul operation. The 777-300ER has
proven its economic leadership and reliability, and these traits
are crucial as we move out to build our new international product,"
said Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey. "The 777 has an outstanding
reputation and is well known for its spacious cabin and high levels
of passenger comfort, and we are confident it is the best aircraft
for our new airline."
Virgin Blue stated during its recently announced half-yearly
results that the new long-haul operation would begin with a limited
network initially focusing on the United States, using a business
model similar to its current value-based operation. The airline
noted that it already has the regulator approval process under
"This order propels our relationship with Virgin Blue to a new
level," said Craig Saddler, president, Boeing Australia. "We were
there from the very start of Virgin Blue operations in August 2000
and we are excited to be standing beside Virgin again as the
airline enters a new phase of innovation and growth. These new
777-300ERs will help establish its new value-based, long-haul
operation as a winner. We are also very pleased to continue
deliveries of 737s to support Virgin Blue's domestic network."
Boeing states since entering service in 2004, the overall fuel
efficiency of the 777-300ER has improved by 3.6 percent through a
combination of improved fuel burn in service, and enhancements to
the airplane. In addition, the range of the 777-300ER has increased
by 630 nautical miles since EIS.
With this order, 49 airlines have ordered 924 Boeing 777s. The
777 family of airplanes is the market leader in the 300-to-400-seat
segment, consistently capturing more than 65 percent market
Through the end of January 2007, Boeing has sold 6,831 737s to