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Old 11th Mar 2010, 11:42
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Southwest Suffolk UK
Posts: 4,924
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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