Best Airline Australia Pacific
Best Airline Staff Service Australia Pacific
Virgin Blue will tomorrow farewell its last Boeing 737 classic jet, registration VH-CZQ (fondly referred to by crew as “Suzie Q”), making the low fare carrier the largest airline to operate an all Boeing 737 Next Generation fleet.
While its modern aircraft set a global benchmark, Virgin Blue has left its regional competitors behind with a fleet that averages eight years younger than Qantas’s*.
By operating a one aircraft type fleet consisting of the most up to date commercial jet in use today, Virgin Blue can also maintain its low fare cost base as new aircraft require less time in the workshop.
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “While the 737 classic aircraft got us through the challenging period after our start up, it is Virgin Blue’s belief that new planes mean less time in the hangar, allowing us to maintain schedule integrity that is second to none.”
Next Generation aircraft also offer state-of-the-art technology that makes it fly faster and quieter, while being more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient.
“For Virgin Blue Guests, this translates to a smoother, more comfortable ride and the lower operating costs of modern aircraft means the airline can and will continue to offer the best possible fares along with the best on-time performance record.”
Virgin Blue took delivery of CZQ, one of Ansett’s younger aircrafts, in late 2001 on a temporary lease to assist with its accelerated expansion in the market.
The arrival of more brand new Next Generation aircraft has allowed Virgin Blue to return CZQ to lessor CIT.
The 737 classic aircraft was also known as the ‘albino’ of Virgin Blue’s red fleet due to her white body and was often seen with a distinctive red ‘Rudolph’ nose.
Virgin Blue currently has a fleet of 40 Boeing 737 aircraft flying between 20 destinations nationally. It has recently launched ‘Pacific Blue’, its New Zealand based sister airline that is due to begin services between Christchurch and Brisbane on 1 February 2004.
* As based on data from the Citigroup Smith Barney 2003 Fleet Handbook.