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Nov 8, 2009

Incorrect if not fanciful reporting about Virgin Blue

It is now 72 hours since a wrong report about Virgin Blue getting Boeing 777-200LRs in Air Transpo

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It is now 72 hours since a wrong report about Virgin Blue getting Boeing 777-200LRs in Air Transport World sent sites like Airliners.net into a frenzy of learned discussion.

This report also excited contacts in Qantas sufficiently for them to give it credence, and cause this report in Plane Talking. Except that I changed my report to the version now on line immediately on receiving this long delayed response from a Virgin Blue spokesperson:

Whenever we go near an aircraft manufacturer, someone immediately has us ordering something!

Look, some of our Virgin Blue execs and Brett were in Seattle this week regarding discussions re a substantial potential order of B737s as you know – we plan to swap out and replace some of our domestic fleet next year. Nothing else. There were no V Australia personnel present and B777s were not on the agenda.

We have also not expanded our B777-300ER order which has three remaining aircraft commitments.

For what it’s worth some of the team are also visiting Embraer so we wait with baited breath to read about what we’re ordering there this week and where we are going to fly them.

But truthfully we ain’t close to new aircraft order for V. Right now we have our hands full preparing for our fourth V Australia 777-300ER and the launch of services to Phuket, Fiji and Melbourne-Los Angeles operations this month and next.

In further discussion over this ‘report’ it was confirmed that there is nothing available that can do a westbound flight from JFK to SYD with an economic payload, nor for that matter the SYD-LHR routes. Not at current fuel prices, never mind higher. And not in relation to various plausible scenarios involving high temperatures at Sydney or New York or London, with an ill timed engine failure, and so forth. And not in the current or foreseeable demand for fares set high enough to actually recover the cost of the flight.

Bugga!

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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