Virgin Australia launches inaugural Boeing 737-8 MAX flight from Cairns to Tokyo

Virgin Australia has delivered its first 737-8 MAX on lease from China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC) at a ceremony in Seattle. The aircraft, registration VH-IA, 'Monkey Mia', will deliver a 15% reduction in fuel burn compared to the carrier's 737-800NG fleet and a 40% smaller noise footprint. The aircraft, which has a longer range than the 737-800 NG, will soon join Virgin Australia's new Cairns-Haneda route, elevating travel between Tokyo and Far North Queensland. 

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The 737-8 is approximately 40% quieter than the current 737-800 NG fleet and comes fitted with new-generation seats. The aircraft will support Virgin Australia's sustainability goals and provide passengers with enhanced comfort and a more enjoyable flying experience.


The route will operate year-round on a daily basis and will be served by the carrier's new Boeing 737-8 MAX from the end of July 2023. Virgin Australia has also unveiled a new Business Class and Economy menu on the route, featuring signature Japanese dishes and an array of iconic Japanese snacks, alongside classic Western meal options. 


The new Cairns-Tokyo service is expected to boost tourism in the region, with Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO and Japan Services Representative Nick Rohrlach stating that it will unlock a new convenient gateway for Japanese travelers to explore Far North Queensland.

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