Australia's Virgin Blue places 2.6 bln aud Boeing 777 order for intl ops


Sydney (XFN-ASIA) - Discount airline Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd

said it has placed a 2.6 bln aud order for seven Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for

the upcoming launch of the company's international operations.

The amount covers the purchase of six aircraft directly from Boeing Co, plus the option for six additional aircraft, and an agreement with leading global lessor, International Leasing Finance Company (ILFC), for a seventh 777-300ER.

While routes and the name for the new international division are yet to be announced, the airline is due for launch next year and will initially focus on flights between Australia and the US west coast.

Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey said the new operations will create over 1,100 jobs.

"We have demonstrated our contribution in the seven years since launching Virgin Blue in the Australian domestic market through flexible and innovative products for both leisure and business travellers and we look forward to doing it all over again," he said.
Virgin Blue, 62.3 pct owned by logistics company Toll Holdings Ltd, will be the first Australian airline to operate the 777-300ER model.

The company is currently working with US regulatory authorities to gain approval for its operations.

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