DALLAS – Virgin Atlantic (VS) CEO, Shai Wess, says the carrier received about 5,000 applicants when it launched a recruitment campaign to hire 400 new workers.
The result is that VS has had more applicants answer its job call than any other airline. The high demand for those jobs is not surprising, though. The industry has experienced staffing shortages after staff left airlines via layoffs and early retirements amid the pandemic.
Now, the situation has become critical, with the latest being the flight delays and cancelations that hit Amsterdam Schiphol Airport over the weekend.
According to Wess, this job applicant flock is due to the airline’s “special sauce,” which was started by the airline’s founder, Richard Branson. While the CEO didn’t specify the precise ingredients, he did explain, “We pay fairly and competitively,” adding that “in this day and age, people need to believe, and they want to be a part of something.”
According to a spokesperson talking to Insider, the hiring campaign was launched in January 2022. Last week, VS announced its intent to hire 300 more flight attendants. The new staff joining the airline will help the transatlantic carrier grow its capacity and launch new routes.
Virgin Atlantic’s Summer Network
Economically speaking, Wess says the airline is finally recovering after two very hard years. COVID curtailed the airline’s transatlantic flights, which were forbidden during most of 2020 and 2021. The CEO is still optimistic when looking at the future, as he hopes to reach profitability by 2023.
Virgin Atlantic has an extensive transatlantic network this summer, serving 11 destinations in the US and six in the Caribbean, according to airlinedata.com. The airline also operates flights to eight other destinations in Africa and the Middle East. The British carrier flies mostly from its main hub at London-Heathrow (LHR), but also offers a few US destinations from Manchester (MAN), Edinburgh (EDI), and Belfast (BFS).
The carrier is the third biggest airline connecting the UK and the US, behind British Airways (BA) and American Airlines (AA), with 18.7% of the seats on offer this summer. The airline flies Airbus A350-1000, Airbus A330-300, and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on these long-haul routes.
With the success of its hiring campaign, VS hopes to grow its offer and cement its recovery from the pandemic.
Featured image: Virgin Atlantic operates nine A350-1000 and has five more on order. Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways