A plane bound for the United States was forced to return to the UK 40 minutes into the flight, allegedly because a pilot was still in training. The Virgin Atlantic flight departed from Heathrow Airport to JFK Airport in New York.
The passengers were returned to Heathrow after the first officer informed the captain that he had not yet completed his last flight test. BirminghamLive reports. Then the plane had to turn around and fly back to London Airport.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said: “Due to a roster error, flight VS3 from London Heathrow to New York-JFK returned to Heathrow shortly after take-off on Monday 2 May. The qualified first officer, who flew alongside an experienced captain, was replaced by a new pilot to ensure full compliance with Virgin Atlantic’s training protocols, which exceed industry standards.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers who arrived two hours, 40 minutes later than scheduled due to the crew change.”
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: “Virgin Atlantic has brought the incident to our attention. Both pilots were appropriately licensed and qualified to conduct the flight.”
That Sun A source was quoted as saying: “The skipper had no choice but to return to Heathrow and find a more experienced crew member. Everyone was embarrassed and the passengers were angry.”