Photo Credit: TN
Virgin Flight Turns Around To JFK Airport After Co-Pilot Was Unqualified To Fly
Imagine being on a flight and finding out the pilot isn’t fully qualified. That’s what happened on a Virgin flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to New York’s JFK Airport on Monday, May 2nd.
According to CNN, Flight VS3 was about 40 minutes in flight, when it emerged that the first officer needed to complete Virgin’s internal “final assessment” flight. The officer is qualified in accordance with UK flight regulations.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson says the flight’s captain has been with Virgin for 17 years and is “highly experienced.”They did not have designated trainer status, so the first officer was replaced with a new pilot.
Daily Voice reports that both pilots were fully licensed and qualified. A spokesperson tells the publication, “…but it is correct to say that flight VS3 operating from Heathrow to New York – JFK on Monday 2 May returned to Heathrow after it was established that the Captain was not designated trainer status.” The spokesperson goes on to say, “The pairing of pilots was not in breach of any aviation or safety regulations, but it wasn’t compliant with Virgin Atlantic’s internal training protocols, hence our decision to turn back.”
Passengers on flight VS3 were stuck on the aircraft for three hours longer because of the “rostering error,” according to The New York Post.
The flight resumed after the first officer, who was pending a final assessment was swapped out.