They've got to be the two most-asked question on Virgin Australia's future fleet plans: will the airline choose the Airbus A350 or the Boeing 787, and when will it make that call?
The "when" is "no time soon", according to Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti.
"There's no rush on that (decision)" Borghetti said last week at a media briefing following the release of the airline's 2016 financial results.
"We've got leases on the Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s going into 2020-plus, so we've got probably two or three years tears before we need to make that decision."
However, when that time does come the airline could settle on a single aircraft to replace both the A330s – which fly Australia's east-west routes and have also been tagged for new Asian destinations – and the five Boeing 777-300ERs which Virgin uses for international flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.
"The ultimate is to try and replace them both with one type, even if they're a different variant," Borghetti predicted. "But we'll look at that as we start to get down the track, it's a bit early now."
Those comments are in line with Virgin's current moves to slim down the number of different types of aircraft in its fleet – ditching its regional Fokker F50s, Embraeur E190s and even the Airbus A320s of low-cost arm Tigerair by mid-2019.
Qantas has similar intentions for its forthcoming Boeing 787-9s, the first of which will begin flying in October 2017.
The airline has dibs on as many as 45 more Dreamliners which will eventually replace both the domestic and international Airbus A330s as well as the ageing Boeing 747s.
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