Virgin Atlantic to recruit more pilots


As the return of international travel gathers pace, Virgin Atlantic is opening up recruitment for first officers to fly its fleet of both Boeing and Airbus kjets.

It anticipates it will need 100 additional pilots by Summer 2023 with a further 60 by Summer 2024 and a further 40 by Summer 2025.

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 theA350-1000 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. 

During the pandemic and virtual collapse of air travel, Virgin Atlantic created a  holding pool to welcome back pilots and cabin crew when increased flying allowed. All the hold pool  pilots who passed interview have re-joined or have confirmed start dates and Virgin Atlantic is now ready to restart external recruitment. 

Estelle Hollingsworth, Chief People Officer, at Virgin Atlantic said: 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.”

But the posts are only open to experienced commercial pilots.

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).

They will 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)