Dubai: Virgin Australia boss Jayne Hrdlicka says the carrier has put its recent poor on-time performance behind it and was sticking with Boeing to upgrade its fleet despite the global manufacturing giant’s production issues.

Speaking to this masthead from the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) annual general meeting in Dubai, Hrdlicka said Virgin had resolved its reliability issues.

Virgin’s outgoing boss Jayne Hrdlicka.

Virgin’s outgoing boss Jayne Hrdlicka. Credit: Bloomberg

“We had challenges in the second quarter of this financial year driven by adding a lot of short-haul international growth,” she said. “We’ve addressed those issues.”

Virgin beat Qantas in the number of on-time departures and arrivals for the first time in 19 months in April. It also had a lower rate of flight cancellations.

Virgin has operated a single-fleet type since it was saved from administration by Bain Capital in November 2020, leaving it more exposed than its major competitors to the production issues plaguing Boeing. Virgin confirmed to this masthead in March that 31 of its Boeing 737 Max-8 and Max-10 aircraft will arrive late as a result of Boeing’s regulatory woes.


However, Hrdlicka said she did not regret picking the Boeing models despite the delivery delays and stressed that Airbus is also experiencing difficulties fulfilling orders. Virgin’s Boeing-only fleet was a big part of Bain’s initial public offering pitch to investors in 2022.

“I think we made a good choice… The benefits in our business from having a single fleet type are significant [in] being quite simple and strict about it. Both Boeing and Airbus are having challenges… Our industry was never meant to stop, it’s a complex supply chain and getting it back in balance takes some time,” she said.

The plan to float the airline has so far failed to get off the ground. Bain and Virgin insiders have long stressed the IPO has been iced because of broader market conditions rather than Virgin’s readiness.