A Virgin Atlantic flight to New York was forced to return to London when it became clear that the co-pilot was not qualified to fly because he had not completed his final evaluation, the airline said.
The Airbus A330 was about 40 minutes into its flight to JFK Airport on Monday when the two pilots noticed what the airline later called a “assignment error”reported the Telegraph.
According to the British outlet, the captain is not a designated coach and he was not qualified to fly with a co-pilot who had not completed Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols.
After returning to Heathrow, the first officer was changed and the flight resumed its journey to the Big Apple, where he landed two hours and 40 minutes late.
The company emphasized that both initial crew members were fully licensed and qualified to operate the plane, with sources describing the captain as “very experienced” with “many thousands of flight hours over 17 years at Virgin Atlantic.”
The first officer, who joined the airline in 2017, was reportedly pending a “final evaluation” flight.
“Due to a roster error, flight VS3 from London Heathrow to New York-JFK returned to Heathrow on Monday May 2 shortly after takeoff,” an airline representative told the outlet.
“The qualified first officer, flying alongside an experienced captain, was replaced by a new pilot to ensure full compliance with Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols, which exceed industry standards.”added the spokesman.
New world milestone in extreme sports: a pilot exchanged his plane in mid-flight
What Jeff Bezos’s $66M Private Plane Looks Like Inside: Kitchen, Queen-Size Bed, and Personal Bar
Airbus could delay a new plane due to demands from the European regulator -sources