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Virgin Atlantic opens recruitment for pilots from Mid 2023

Virgin Atlantic has opened up recruitment for First Officers across both Airbus and Boeing fleets for the first time since 2020.

The demand for First Officers comes as Virgin Atlantic increases capacity across its network. New flying includes its first-ever service to Austin, Texas which launched in May 2022, a new route to Tampa, Florida which starts on 3rd November alongside a seasonal service to Cape Town, South Africa, which begins on 5th November.

Virgin Atlantic has one of the youngest, cleanest, and most technologically advanced twin-engine wide-body fleet of any airline. This includes the A350-1000 aircraft, Boeing 787 Dreamliners and also Virgin Atlantic’s newest aircraft, the A330-900 NEO, which will take to the skies in October 2022 with a redesigned Upper-Class cabin. The airline will take delivery of three A330-900 NEO aircraft in 2022 with the remaining 13 deliveries following between 2023 and 2026.

Following the impact of the pandemic, Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to create a holding pool to welcome back pilots and cabin crew when increased flying allowed. All the hold pool pilots who passed the interview have re-joined or have confirmed start dates and Virgin Atlantic is now ready to restart external recruitment. The airline anticipates it will need 100 additional pilots by Summer 2023 with a further 60 by Summer 2024 and a further 40 by Summer 2025.

Estelle Hollingsworth, Chief People Officer, at Virgin Atlantic commented, “Our pilots head up our flying operation every day, making the difference that our customers see and feel when they fly Virgin Atlantic. They give our customers an exceptional journey, delivering consistent operational excellence in the sky whilst maintaining our highest safety standards.

“At Virgin Atlantic, our purpose is to inspire everyone to take on the world, championing inclusivity, and our challenger spirit. Ensuring our Pilot community is made up of diverse backgrounds, remains a core priority for us and we welcome anyone with a genuine passion for aviation to apply for these exciting positions."

Virgin Atlantic firmly believes that anyone can take on the world and as an equal opportunity employer, is committed to becoming a more diverse workplace. This round of pilot recruitment follows cabin crew recruitment earlier in the year which saw a record number of applications – 10,000 applicants for 800 roles – in particular from ethnically diverse backgrounds, alongside those who felt comfortable disclosing disabilities. In June 2022, in line with its focus on inclusion and individuality, the airline relaxed its tattoo policy for all its uniformed staff including pilots, meaning visible tattoos no longer need to be hidden, encouraging every person to be truly themselves.

Virgin Atlantic is working with Zenon as an exclusive recruitment partner. For further information and to apply visit

Virgin Atlantic is sufficiently resourced for its operations and is not suffering the disruption that other airlines have experienced. The airline introduced a holding pool scheme during the 2020 restructuring, which meant it was able to bring back more than 1000 cabin crew and pilots as demand returned, reducing the need for new airside passes to be processed. Virgin Atlantic has also recruited and trained a significant number of new employees. Since the start of 2022, it has onboarded 800 new cabin crew and 45 new pilots. 10,000 applicants applied for those crew roles, which shows there are no issues attracting talent, and saw record applications from candidates with ethnically diverse backgrounds, alongside those comfortable to disclose disabilities.

Virgin Atlantic is looking for pilots to become First Officers, who have one of the following current type ratings:

Airbus A319/320/321/330/350

Boeing 737/747/757/767/777/787

Candidates must have a minimum experience of 1,500 hours of total flying time on the above with at least 500 hours on the current type. (Hours spent solely as a cruise pilot are not included).

You also need the following:

Flown the aircraft type within the last 6 months

Achieved 200 flying hours in the last 12 months

Hold a current UK Class one Medical and a full EASA ATPL licence (UK issue) at the date of joining.

The ability to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in English (certified as ICAO level 6 English Proficiency when applying)



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