Pilots in Virgin Atlantic have voted to accept a pay offer from the company – 63% voted to accept on an 87% poll. It includes a profit share scheme, a programme to review pilot lifestyle and a commitment on improving the way management and pilots will work together. The acceptance of the offer finally ends the prospect of strike action.

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) said: 'Virgin Atlantic pilots voted overwhelmingly for strike action (97 per cent on a 94 per cent poll) in June but given some improvement on pay, against very tough trading conditions, and commitments to improve lifestyle, they have now decided to settle this pay round with the future in mind.

'Now we need to work together – management and association – to get Virgin back to the airline it once was.'

In a letter to Sir Richard Branson, Jim McAuslan said that although long service pilots do recall Virgin being fuelled by passion, fun, and unbounded enthusiasm ‘that does not feel like the DNA of today.' He said pilots need to hear less from their president about how things used to be and more about how they ought to be.

Jim McAuslan has told Sir Richard that at present management does 'too much listening and not enough hearing.' Pilots, he said, do question and challenge 'it's what stops them flying into mountains.' Their first-ever vote for strike should be sounding alarm bells and their feedback on the state of the airline should be welcomed and addressed.

‘But strike threat is not the best way to run industrial relations‘ said Jim McAuslan. ‘There are lessons for us all in this dispute and BALPA’s board will be tabling ideas on how we can be robust, professional and business-like in our dealings and we will be looking to engage with progressive employers in this way.’