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Old 10th Mar 2010, 21:17   #41 (permalink)
 
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MCDU2,

Very clever. Thanks for wasting our time with your non-answer. I guess people aren't entitled to opinions on these boards. I am not concerned as you stated, merely curious about the VS fleets and their potential impact on pilot burn-out. Maybe there is a correlation - or maybe not. Is that question too complex or deep for you to answer? Sounds like it.

As for Aer Lingus, we all know it is a dinosaur past its prime. Some people don't want to admit the truth and they hang on to the past. I guess you are among them. You can put Aer Lingus in the same group with Alitalia and Sabena - once great airlines that failed to evolve and ultimately compete.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 10:24   #42 (permalink)


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Virgin Atlantic and Flybe training tie-up

Hello, I usually just view on here not post, but heard this one doing in the rounds and couldn't find anything on here?

Is there something in the offing regarding SFOs ready for upgrade being shipped off to Flybe for a year or so to fly their Dash 8s for 'command experience'? From what I heard the two airlines seem to be talking about some kind of pilot exchange designed to aid command upgrades and future recruitment a few years down the line...

Anyone heard anything about this or is it just another one...
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 11:01   #43 (permalink)
 
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... and Flybe pilots can apply and get preference for jobs long haul at VS ????

Live in hope
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 11:42   #44 (permalink)
 
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Virgin is neither the pilots' panacea nor the horror story that some would claim. It's somewhere in between - and just where depends on your experiences and expectations. For those whose only criterion is the size of aeroplane you fly, it's the dog's danglies. For those for whom lifestyle is key, well, it depends what you want and where you are on the seniority list - as is true at most airlines.

The problem is this perception that Virgin is somehow immune to the business environment, and has a peculliarly benificent and charitable attitude to its workforce. It isn't, and it doesn't. Its purely longhaul, and Atlantic-centered, route structure makes it more vulnerable than most to problems in the US and UK economies, and is something it has been slowly trying to rebalance for some 8 or 9 years. However, it's still over 50% of VS's market, and so the last 2 years have been particularly hard work. The company has reduced in size and capacity by about 10-15%, and that's affected the workforce in all areas, including pilots. Virgin was no more or less generous to its redundant workforce than most companies, and isn't about to spend money making life more comfortable for those who remain!

That said, for those who looked carefully at the reality before they committed, and were realistic about their own expectations, this is still a good place to be. There are, as in all airlines, many issues arising from (some predating) the recent difficulties that need addressing, and time to command will (and was always expected to) slide to the right. However, those who would like to fly for this airline will, I believe, have at least a couple of years to wait before any opportunities arise.

For those few eagerly anticipating the demise or come-uppance of Virgin Atlantic, I think you underestimate the size, resiliance and determination of the Virgin organisation! International protectionist regulation and entrenched legacy carriers may have limited VS's expansion - and may continue to do so in future - but Virgin now includes several airlines which, while financially independent, are able to work together to secure the future of the Virgin brand in this industry. There is more than one way of skinning a cat...
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 12:00   #45 (permalink)
 
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Happiness... I've heard some rumblings along the same vain, not sure of its authenticity though...
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 12:37   #46 (permalink)
 
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I think life for Virgin is about to get considerably harder with the approval of the BA/AA tie up from the EU.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 13:44   #47 (permalink)
 
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Good to see scroggs back with some insight to life within VS. Anyone who wants to know more about the airline should research the Virgin Atlantic Master Threads which were running around the time that the airline last recruited. Scroggs contributed a lot of info, and while some of it may now be longer be applicable, it's still an informative read.

Somebody asked about 'burn out' within the pilots at VS. Now I'm not at VS, however the I remember info in the master threads suggesting VS pilots were contracted to 750hrs per annum. This all may have changed after the recent reshuffling, especially if management felt 900hrs per pilot per year equaled greater productivity??

As for a Flybe/Virgin tie-up to aid future VS recruitment and in return have command ready VS SFOs fly the left seat of the Dash? Doesn't honestly add up to me?

There won't be many upgrades at VS for quite some years imo, so is there an immediate need for command ready SFOs? Plus a large number of VS SFOs would be on pretty equivalent or indeed better money to Flybe Dash Captains. Plus something says to me that a 8-12 year 744 or 340 SFO wouldn't be too enthusiastic to jump at a job on TPs - even if there was command attached. I know a few guys who were only at VS for a few years prior to their recent restructuring. They are all back in the LHS of short/medium haul jets.

As for recruitment ties from Flybe. A big prerequisite was jet time; and lots of it. Preferably wide body, Boeing or Airbus. Flybe doesn't offer much of this. Although over time things change. Who knows in the end; however, as scroggs admits, it's going to be quite some time before we find out how VS recruits its next batch of FOs
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 14:15   #48 (permalink)


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Neither was I convinced of this on first hearing of it but it probably goes a little deeper than that. Now if the SFOs at Virgin would be taking RHS Dash positions for up to 18 months, we aren't talking about command upgrades at VS for at least 2 yrs at the earliest anyway. As for the money side of things, I don't think that would be changed as it would be treated more of a secondment rather than anything else with both pilots keeping their on T's and C's. As for the reluctance of the VS FOs? Well yes for some maybe, but for others it might be a bit of fun and a change for a year. One things for sure it will be a hell of alot more challenging!

But like I said I don't know whether its anything more than a rumour and I don't fly for either airline but will look on with interest. Sure there seems like a lot of questions to be asked and answered surrounding it but, if you think about it, it makes sense.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 15:20   #49 (permalink)
 
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Just to clear one thing up - Virgin has less than 10 F/O's, yes thats less than 10 F/O's on forced unpaid leave / sabbatical at the moment.

The rest that took sabbatical/severance deals were not forced but volunteered as they had been offered opportunities elsewhere back in the LHS or elsewhere etc.

Now, as for a tie up with FlyBe well I personally can't see a problem with that. They're a great regional carrier and certainly aren't as hard on their people as easy and ruinair.

I dont think that any SFO's would be required to move to flybe purely for a LHS experience with an exchange programme. Seems a bit strange as a large amount of the FO's at Virgin have had jet commands either commercially or in the Air Force.

Oh and as for the ones on here trying to wee on Virgins fire, bog off and get on with your multi sector 900hrs.

Regards

ps: virgin pilots only fly 750hrs/yr this has not changed at all.

Last edited by WidebodyWillie; 11th Mar 2010 at 17:31.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 15:36   #50 (permalink)
 
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Dear Widebody
I wish your 'less than 5' comment were true.........
but its a bit wide of the mark
Cheers
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 15:42   #51 (permalink)
 
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Yes, I agree. The numbers are somewhat larger than WW says, and it will take some time to reabsorb those who've been displaced. I wouldn't expect that process to be complete either this or next year. Incidentally, the 750-hour contract remains the default.

I haven't heard about this FlyBe tie-up, and I wonder if it's a rumour hanging over from the company's attempts to find temporary positions for redundant pilots a few months ago. There were discussions with a number of airlines about hosting VS pilots - some worked out, others didn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitbat
I think life for Virgin is about to get considerably harder with the approval of the BA/AA tie up from the EU.
Well, it hasn't been approved yet! However, it seems that it is likely to be approved this time. The approval will be conditional on the surrender (or 'lease') of certain slot pairs, which may become available to VS - and they may not. Either way, VS and the regulators will be quick to pounce on any predatory pricing tactics by the OneWorld airlines. In fact, their tactics are likely to be to try and drive prices higher to improve the dire yields - particularly for BA, whose costs per pax/km are over twice those of VS. All part of the fun of competition, though - and that's something Virgin has never shirked.
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Old 25th Mar 2010, 14:02   #52 (permalink)
 
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I think Virgin is one of the last true British companies, which care about their employees and the customers.

We are all going through difficult times, however I would be one trying to get in if I was not retiring in June.
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Old 25th Mar 2010, 16:22   #53 (permalink)
 
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Unhappy

A cleverly constructed facade, which sadly only becomes transparent once you've joined.
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Old 25th Mar 2010, 18:05   #54 (permalink)
 
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I am with Big bus on this one.
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Old 25th Mar 2010, 20:03   #55 (permalink)
 
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I've tried saying the same, but other people tell me I'm wrong.

Oh well, never mind. I was the one on the spot, but obviously I had no idea what I was on about.

All that glitters is not necessarily gold.
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 14:05   #56 (permalink)
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I think long haul is about lifestyle and so it all depends on the individual. There are no right or wrong answers, just what is good/bad for you.

I think Virgin has its problems right now which, hopefully, will be addressed by BALPA. When I look at what I would be doing elsewhere eg flying for a low cost operator then overall I think Virgin is a good place to work. If time to command is an issue then you probably would not consider joining in the first place. My guess is that maybe those with about 10/11 years in the company may get a sniff at a command within a few years. However, once the slack is taken up those pilots just below them may have to wait a very long time after that.

As for time down route it is still possible to do a quite a lot if you make the effort. Also, the long haul lifestyle still allows guys to live, within reason, where they want. It ain't easy commuting, I know that myself, but you can live further away than would realistically be possible flying short haul.

Do I regret leaving my last company? Well for my part I thought I would get bored flying up and down the Bay of Biscay for the next 30 years. However, I only swapped that for the Atlantic instead. Overall it was good for me but clearly there are some pilots who became disillusioned who voted with their feet.
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 14:57   #57 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 320seriesTRE
I think Virgin is one of the last true British companies, which care about their employees and the customers.
It's this kind of rose-tinted viewpoint which creates expectations which are bound to be shattered and lead to disillusion and discontent! Virgin is not a charity, or some kind of benevolent experiment in worker welfare. It is a very hard-nosed business, which has a very shiny image. It's not that bad at dealing with its workforce generally, but it's not that good either - you'll notice it's never featured in the Times Top 100 Companies to Work For, for instance. It did try and convince the workforce to vote for it, but without success!

Virgin is a good place to work, on the whole, so long as your expectations are kept realistic. Like any large company, there are issues - some major - which keep the various workgroup representative bodies busy negotiating with the company to defend, protect, and hopefully enhance the terms and conditions we work under. The company, naturally - and especially in tight times economically - will fight to reduce costs by attacking those terms conditions, either directly or subtly. That is how it works, and it takes constant monitoring and effort to counter. I'd challenge you to show me many companies where this isn't the case. If you find one, go and work for them!
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 16:35   #58 (permalink)
 
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The last five posts are probably the best in this thread. Virgin Atlantic is indeed a big shiny machine and it's image is perceived as it's best asset in the world of business. However, from it's start a small friendly company, it changed when it grew and got the big business disease of forgetting what it's real best asset is - it's employees.

I was only there a short time and found the life wasn't for me. But my colleagues were second to none and I was sorry to leave them. For those who are still there, I wish you the best in what appear to be difficult times. Scroggs and BBK, it was a pleasure flying with you chaps.

Last edited by Dan Winterland; 1st Apr 2010 at 02:22. Reason: spilling
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 12:31   #59 (permalink)
 
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Well I'm not sure if we are all working for the same airline but I'm doing 3 trips a month and having lots of relaxed time at home. For me Virgin is the best airline in the UK with great times down route and terrific staff travel.Happy days
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 20:29   #60 (permalink)
 
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I've asked this before without reply. Where will Virgin send the 10 A330's they have on order? Surely, there must be recruitment for that fleet!

TBE.
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