Volume 29
July 17, 2017

A Weekly Aviation Career
Newsletter from Avjobs, Inc.

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A Weekly Aviation Career Newsletter from Avjobs, Inc.
Company Profile: Virgin America Takes Flight

As promised, Virgin America launched on Wednesday, August 8, 2007.

Virgin America Takes Flight
Virgin America Takes Flight
As promised, Virgin America launched on Wednesday, August 8, 2007. Unfortunately, the very first flight from the low-cost airline partly backed and fully branded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson was delayed by severe weather.

Nevertheless, company officials are buzzing with optimism and explain how their airline differs from other low-cost carriers. Among other things, they mention the aircraft's leather seats, mood lighting, entertainment systems, first-class seating and low fares on point-to-point flights. San Francisco-based Virgin America is accenting hip customer service in an attempt to build loyalty in an industry with sharply deteriorating reliability and customer satisfaction. The American airline industry is abysmal," said Virgin Group founder Branson at an event at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport before passengers boarded the first flight. "The reason they go bust is they don't offer any service to the customer.

At the event, Branson promised rapid expansion of the new airline, which he said would ultimately operate a fleet of 100 Airbus A320 and A319 jets. However, not everyone is thrilled with Branson's entrance into the competitive U.S. market. Virgin announced its name, its order for Airbus jets and the basics of an operating plan in June 2004. It applied to the DOT in December 2005, triggering objections from U.S. carriers and labor unions. Several U.S.-based airlines and unions expressed concern about Branson's control over the carrier and U.S. law limits foreign ownership of such companies. This past May, after continuing adjustments by Virgin, the U.S. Transportation Department mandated various changes -- including CEO Fred Reid's departure -- to ensure the carrier's relationship with U.K.-based Virgin Group and Branson does not violate requirements mandating that U.S. citizens controlling U.S. airlines. Virgin Group holds a minority stake in the company, which the law permits.

With these hurdles behind, the carrier is scheduled for quick expansion. On Aug. 29, it will begin New York-Los Angeles flights. It will add San Francisco-Washington Dulles on Sept. 26, San Francisco-Las Vegas on Oct. 10, and Los Angeles-Dulles on Oct. 24.

Join the Team
With this rapid expansion comes an aggressive hiring plan to fill many vacancies. The San Francisco-based company is hiring for several positions. However, the airline is first to say I isn't for everyone. On its website, the company writes: The courage to re-invent yourself and the airline industry does not call upon the meek, the satiated and the comfortable. Virgin America is much more than an airline that transports people from point A to point B. In fact, it's not an airline. It's an enrichment program. It's a better way of life through flying.

What kind of person is fit for the Virgin America mission Company officials will say they are seeking applicants who are creative, compassionate, patient, visionary, spontaneous, articulate, a good listener, ambitious, fun, humble, brave, sympathetic, cool under pressure, dedicated, curious, passionate, energetic, inspiring and trustworthy. For more information, visit the Virgin America careers website.

Sir Richard Branson
Speaking of enthusiastic people, Virgin CEO Richard Branson was born in 1950 and educated at Stowe School. It was here that he began to set up a student magazine when he was just 16. By 17 he'd also set up the Student Advisory Centre, which was a charity to help young people. In 1970 he founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer, and not long after he opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. During 1972 a recording studio was built in Oxfordshire, and the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded "Tubular Bells" which was released in 1973 and went on to sell over 5 million copies. Since then many household names, including Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Phil Collins, Janet Jackson and The Rolling Stones have helped to make Virgin Music one of the top six record companies in the world. The equity of Virgin Music Group - record labels, music publishing, and recording studios was sold to THORN EMI in 1992 in a US$1billion deal. The Virgin Group has now expanded into international music Megastores, air travel, mobile, financial, retail, music, internet, drinks, rail, hotels and leisure, with around 200 companies in over 30 countries.

Branson's timing into the US airline market is strategic. He made his move just U.S. carriers such as Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. has only just emerged from lengthy restructurings in bankruptcy. As a result, they are forced cut costs in order to deal with higher fuel prices and tougher competition, like Virgin America. Many industry analysts compare the new start-up with JetBlue Airways Corp., which seven years ago, launched in a similar fashion on the US East coast.

Perhaps the best way to learn about Richard Branson is to hear him in person, so to speak. We invite you to view this week's video feature, which includes an interview with Branson conducted by the team at AirVenture 2005. You'll hear this very successful entrepreneur discuss his out-of this world venture  Virgin Galactic. This space tourism company plans to fly passengers in low-Earth orbit within the next decade. Want to find out more? Well, listen to the man himself.


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