Virgin Australia Suspends Route Following 737 MAX Delays

Daniel Fowkes
29 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
· Routes 
A Virgin Australia Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Sydney Airport

Virgin Australia has announced service suspension between Adelaide and Bali amid ongoing Boeing 737 MAX delivery delays.

Service suspension is expected to be effective immediately through June 9, 2024, at the earliest.

The carrier is being forced to cut the route from its network because of the ongoing delay in acquiring 10 new Boeing jets from the MAX series.

Ultimately, while Virgin Australia will work with impacted travellers, those booked will now be forced to travel through other ports. As a result, total journey time will increase substantially because of the required transfer to cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane.

Virgin Australia must manage the effects of the 737 MAX delays, including making route adjustments where necessary.

The Australian airline apologised for the negative effect that would be felt on its customers but reaffirmed its stance that this was an essential move.

Virgin Australia will also realize that further time out of the Adelaide to Bali market will allow competitor Jetstar to jump ahead.

A Widespread Problem

Virgin Australia isn’t the only airline impacted by delivery delays from the American manufacturer Boeing.

Airlines worldwide are facing something similar and making necessary adjustments to their network. In some cases, these airlines are forced to adjust their order book to mitigate the losses.

United Airlines went further by announcing plans to lease Airbus A321neo aircraft to cover for delayed 737-10 jets. Additionally, the company converted orders for the uncertified 737-10 to other approved jets in the series.

United Airlines announced plans to lease Airbus A321neo aircraft to cover for ongoing delays in acquiring 737 MAX jets.

Boeing Faces Pressures

Delivery delays are spurred on by an increased focus and thus pressure on Boeing and its means of producing aircraft.

Regulators like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have begun watching over Boeing. This move ensures that the safety and quality of the aircraft produced are high, which has been lacking lately.

Like United Airlines, Virgin Australia also faces significant delays in obtaining their 737-10s. However, unlike delays in acquiring the 737-8, there is a complete lack of understanding of when the first 737-10s will be delivered.

According to new forecasts, the 737-10 remains uncertified and may not arrive until 2026 at the earliest.

Ultimately, the shuffling of a network and fleet is far from optimal for the major Australian carrier. Additionally, delays can force Virgin to retain older, less efficient aircraft.

While retaining older aircraft can help cover for the delayed MAX jets, it can also have negative ramifications. This can be evident through the inability to use new planes on new routes as promised or broader financial impacts.

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