Virgin Atlantic Pilot Strikes December 22 – 25, December 30 – January 2 & January 4 – 7, 2019

Virgin Atlantic pilots belonging to the Professional Pilot Union (PPU) that the airline has refused to recognize has issued three strike dates for the busy year-end holiday period.

Virgin Atlantic

PPU claims that it represents more than 400 of the airline’s pilots while Virgin Atlantic claims that they represent roughly 30%. The airline aims to operate full schedule despite this work action.

You can access Virgin Atlantic website here.

Here’s the announcement from Virgin Atlantic:

Virgin Atlantic Announcement

Their using the words of “small” number when it is 400 pilots or 30% of their pilots certainly isn’t reassuring.

Here’s an excerpt from the Express (access their piece here):

Union spokesman Steve Johnson said they feel “bullied” into taking this action and have been “shut-out” of negotiations in a two year battle for union recognition. Mr Johnson said: “The pilot workforce is a professional and commuted group that seeks striking as anathema, but clearly feel bullied into this action by a company that chooses to ignore them.”

The union said members for 7-1 in favour of the action.

Mr Johnson said: “Virgin Atlantic have consistently refused to recognise the PPU as a legitimate and independent union, essentially disenfranchising our members.”

The union represents approximately one-third of Virgin Atlantic pilots.

He added: “Despite the rhetoric that consultations are inclusive of all staff and unions, in practice this doesn’t happen.”


Difficult to see how Virgin Atlantic could operate their planned flight schedule if one third of their pilots are on strike and the rest likely reaching their yearly hourly limits (and would rather spend the time with family members).

You could argue that Virgin Atlantic is practically controlled by Delta and Air France-KLM. Richard Branson currently holds a minority share. Delta is not very union friendly airline.

Remember that Virgin Atlantic is required to rebook affected passenger in case of strike and cancelled flights to their final destination at the earliest opportunity per EC 261/2004 even if these flights are on other airlines such as British Airways, United or American. Obviously the capacity is almost at the capacity at this time of the year so open seats might be scarce.

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