Virgin Australia has placed an order for 23 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, making it the first airline in the country to order the aircraft.
Following deliveries under the $2.19bn order, including an option for an additional four, the aircraft will join the fleet and enhance the airline's flexibility in responding to the market conditions.
Virgin Australia has deferred some Boeing 737NG aircraft deliveries to beyond 2016 and its 31 Boeing 737-800 aircraft deliveries are scheduled in the three years after 2013, in a move to support its current capacity plan for the subsequent few years.
The capacity plan will further allow the airline to develop a precise combination of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti said: "Virgin Australia has reduced its average fleet age from 4.9 to 4.2 years.
"The Boeing 737 MAX will build on this, enabling us to achieve strong on-time performance and maintain our low-cost base."
The airline is scheduled to receive the aircraft between 2019 and 2021, and anticipates retiring its entire 737-700 aircraft fleet by late 2013.
Powered by the CFM International LEAP-1B engines, the new 737 MAX 8 will deliver enhanced fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by an additional 13% when compared with the current competitor.
"The aircraft will also feature the light and spacious Boeing sky interior and incorporate the latest quiet engine technology, reducing its noise footprint significantly," Borghetti added.
"Virgin Australia will continue to review its fleet strategy to ensure we align fit-for-purpose aircraft to markets and maintain maximum flexibility in capacity management."
The MAX aircraft is equipped with Boeing's advanced technology winglet, which will reduce drag and further improve the aircraft's performance on longer-ranges.
Image: Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is the new engine variant of the 737. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.