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Virgin Atlantic facing strike fears over fatigued pilots

Virgin Atlantic (Image: Max Thrust Digital)

Virgin Atlantic (Image: Max Thrust Digital)

Virgin Atlantic (VS/VIR) is facing strike action by its pilots after the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), raised “serious concerns” about pilot fatigue and well-being.

The go-ahead to be balloted on strike action was given by 96% of members who are calling for an end to pilot rostering changes made during the pandemic aimed to keep the airline from bankruptcy giving BALPA an “overwhelming mandate to pursue this dispute.”

Modern flight decks are designed to reduce pilot workload and fatigue. (Image: Max Thrust Digital)

BALPA’s interim general secretary, Miranda Rackley, said: “It’s clear Virgin Atlantic pilots feel very strongly about this. 

BALPA prefers to address matters constructively through negotiation and industrial compromise and will only countenance industrial action as a last resort.  

“We remain ready to commence negotiations to find an acceptable way forward and urge Virgin Atlantic to listen to its staff and put forward an acceptable offer that our members could support”

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 G-VOWS (Image: Max Thrust Digital)

Under UK regulations pilots can fly a maximum of 1,000 hours per year according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the average annual rostering for Virgin Atlantic pilots is 750.

In response, a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said: “We carefully analyse and manage working levels and fatigue levels to ensure the well-being of our pilots at all times”

A Sunday Times source, who first broke the story, said that they believed strike action would “not be constructive” with pay talks also imminent.

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