A Virgin Atlantic plane had to turn around due to one of the pilots not being fully trained.
The plane was headed to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after it departed from London’s Heathrow airport on Monday. As the plane was flying over Ireland, it turned back.
Although the UK Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that both pilots were suitably licensed and qualified for the flight, Virgin Atlantic has said that it was an internal assessment that meant the plane had to turn around.
According to Sky News, the first officer had not completed the “final assessment flight” which Virgin Atlantic requires for its own rules, though all the pilots and the airline did not break any UK aviation and safety regulations.
A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said that both pilots on the plane were fully licensed and qualified and confirmed that the flight was not compromised in any way.
The spokesperson went on to say that it had been a “rostering error” from the airline’s side.
The pilot in question’s identity has not been made available, but a new pilot was assigned to replace them once the flight arrived back at Heathrow.
“The qualified first officer, who was flying alongside an experienced captain, was replaced with a new pilot to ensure full compliance with Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols, which exceed industry standards.”
Once the replacement happened, the plane was able to depart from Heathrow airport again and arrived two hours and 40 minutes later than scheduled.
Image credit: Airlive