A220 vs E190-E2: Virgin Australia Debates Replacing Its Venerable Fokker 100 Fleet

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines is considering replacing its Fokker 100 fleet with Embraer E190-E2 or Airbus A220-100 aircraft, according to an article published by Airline Ratings.

In a memorandum to employees, the company’s CEO Nathan Miller states: “We have narrowed down the potential replacements for our F100s to the Embraer E190-E2 or Airbus A220-100. These are next-generation aircraft that offer superior performance to the Fokker 100 and can be used anywhere in the world.”

Miller explained to employees that “in 2021, the company conducted a review of several options to replace the Fokker 100, which now have an average fleet age of 30 years. The outcome of the review identified the Boeing 737-700 as a suitable replacement option for most of the network, however, some airports where we operate do not accept the Boeing 737-700 due to aerodrome incompatibility. To continue serving our customers at these locations, we have been left with a small number of Fokkers.”

“We have earned the right to consider if there is a better solution for the rest of the flights that require a 100-seat aircraft. The Western Australia charter market has the fiercest competition in the 100-seat segment, so we need to make sure we can offer a great solution to our charter customers with this requirement,” continued Miller, adding that the company foresees an opportunity for at least four new aircraft based in Perth, starting in mid-2025.

“These aircraft will operate predominantly charter activity, along with some regular air transport activity during periods of low charter activity (Fridays and weekends). If we go ahead with any of these aircraft, it will be the first time the Western Australia 100-seat charter flight market will have new aircraft since the days of Ansett, which would be great for our business and our customers,” Miller stated.

“Ultimately, our Board of Directors will make the decision on the profitability of these aircraft, so it’s important that we can present strong and clear arguments in favor of the investment. An essential part of this process is making sure we consult all stakeholders, including our team members, customers, aircraft manufacturers, customers, and unions. We will start these conversations in the coming days to see how we can continue to offer opportunities to our employees and, at the same time, remain competitive in the 100-seat charter flight segment,” Miller concluded.

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