Update on BA flight simulators at LHR

Old Jan 26, 19, 5:14 am
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Update on BA flight simulators at LHR

As you know I help organise the annual FT outing to the BA simulators at LHR every year.

After the sim evenings at the end of 2018 I received an email from Andy telling me his department had announced a reorganisation and his current role would no longer exist. He was in discussions with another department within BA hopefully for a move across in which case he would be able to continue the sim evenings.

Anyway I have now heard this week that BA are stopping all corporate and private sims. Unfortunately Andy is being made redundant and he hasn't got a job elsewhere in BA. This is obviously quite depressing news, not just because of sim visits but because Andy has been extremely helpful in organising our sim sessions and he is a really nice guy. Regardless of what happened with our sim outings, I was hoping for a better outcome for Andy. I mention this as those of you who have come along in previous years, especially the regulars, may want to get in touch with him before he leaves just to thank him - I know everyone has always been very complimentary about him.

Andy has also passed on the following which I wanted to share as well:

"I always looked forward to the FlyerTalk evenings, all the guys and girls that came along were always very enthusiastic and inquisitive! It was always fun! Thanks for all your hard work in making them successful."

In terms of the sim evenings themselves, I am looking at some other options. I have kept in touch with one of the instructors from a previous year and we are meeting up soon to see if we can work something out with BA. However, it may not be something that is possible sadly. Andy did say if we needed qualified instructors he was willing to come in and take a group.

Also I know there are often questions on the board from people who are looking to book one off sessions on their own via the BA Flight Training site. The changes will affect that too and I understand BA are stopping selling access to the public for flight sim experiences. I have been told that public access ends this weekend.

Anyway, sorry for the bad news. We had five years of sim evenings and we have had 78 people come along. I do hope I can work something out with BA to carry them on in some form and I will update with the outcome of this.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 5:16 am
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Sorry to hear this. Was not something that I did, but always sounded like good fun.

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Old Jan 26, 19, 6:07 am
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Sorry to hear this. I'm booked on a course with Turnpoint aero at the LHR Sim in March. Hope this still goes ahead, was confirmed in the last few days from the people at turnpoint, but now their website is not reachable....
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:08 am
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Those are sad news, specially for Andy. I did one session, very good memory of a really fun and instructive evening.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:17 am
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Very sad news for Andy - you'd have hoped that the organisation would have found something else for such a motivated, experienced person.

I attended two of the evenings and both were a tremendous success, due in no small part to the efforts of Karfa and Andy.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:31 am
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The logic of corporations can be totally backwards sometimes. Not only was this probably profitable (selling tours/private sim sessions etc) but anywhere it was advertised or things like this was organised it was like a free advertisement for BA. Instead now it's an ad for their cost cutting and short-sightedness (like the HK situation last year). From positive value and a free ad to more obvious insight into how they're going. These 'soft pushes' and increasing noise on the AA side signalling similar intentions (737-MAX new uncomfortable domestic first, being rolled out fleetwide etc) of the forum were what pushed me to lose Gold with BA and start trying out other airlines. I will not cut my nose off to spite my face, ofc, Club World is still good for family travel with the middle seats and sometimes being uncomfortable on AA on connections is cheaper by enough (thousands for the whole itin including BA flights) but I'm no longer loyal and Virgin/Delta will tend to pick up my flights all things being equal.

I think they're foolish to underestimate the impact of relentless news like this and little things which eventually add up to loyal fliers checking out someone else. With AA's recent profits showing the end game if BA pushes too far on the cuts side (1/4 the profits of Delta, less profit than Jet Blue... etc) I'm sure they'll convince themselves that their current profitability makes them immune but once the damage is done I don't think winning people back is ever easy so when the profitability turns it's already too late to address this kind of short sightedness.

With that said, of course, sad to hear the news for Andy personally, it sounds like those of you who were lucky enough to be able to make one of the sessions had a great time. I wish him all the best in the future and hope he ends up at Virgin.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:37 am
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That's very sad for Andy, he is a great chap and was always very helpful to us.

Thanks for passing on the message to all of us.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:51 am
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This is very unfortunate. I only did the 2018 outing as my first but it was a great evening and Andy was extremely helpful.

Maybe BA thought we caused too much damage to the planes with bad landings
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:51 am
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This is indeed sad for Andy who is an exceptional helpful individual and great ambassador for BA.

Whilst I understand the frustration at this decision, I know when I was last there a number of issues with simulators being broken (although I doubt it is from bad landings)etc may have informed this decision, ultimately the simulators are there to keep BA flying, if the additional activities were impacting on that, then one can understand the decision despite the disappointment.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 7:56 am
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Sorry to hear of another experienced face being eased out at BA.

Sad, but I suppose to the management he is just another cost to be cut on the holy grail at BA.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 8:04 am
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It's a shame, I had always wanted to do this, but never got around to it.

Really should have bothered with it when I had the chance!
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Old Jan 26, 19, 8:32 am
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This is very sad news. Unfortunately I never made it across to one of the FT sim do's and so I also never met Andy, however he sounds like a lovely man who will be sorely missed. Very sad to hear that someone like that is being made redundant.

I'd always wanted to do the BA simulator and had built it up in my mind to be a milestone birthday present to myself in a few years time. Sadly it seems I'll now never get that chance!

Keeping everything crossed KARFA that you manage to come to some kind of conclusion, and hopefully one which will also involve Andy in some way.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 9:20 am
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All of that is very sad news.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 9:43 am
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Is this a permanent removal of the facility, or just a temporary closure for an indefinite period of time?

I see from other boards that BA is in the middle of an extensive flight crew recruitment exercise and that one of the bottlenecks in the process is a shortage of training capacity. Perhaps when they eventually find that they have more flight crew than they need, or more sim capacity than the training programme needs, they will have a change of heart and try again to make some money by offering sim time to outsiders.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 10:30 am
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I read this with a really heavy heart for multiple reasons. I'd always wanted to make one of the FT sim dos, but never managed to find the time, or they always clashed with something else, and now I suppose I never will.

It's terrible to read about Andy being made redundant, it sounds as though whoever made that decision doesn't value someone's experience or the goodwill they might be capable of creating, and only sees what's in the raw numbers.

To that end, and given this news, I'm glad I took the opportunity of being able to buy some time on a BA sim when I did.

When growing up, near an airport, I often aspired to fly for a living, but my terrible vision since childhood meant I couldn't have qualified for a Class 1 medical once I was over about the age of 10, ironically the year I first flew BA and my first flight on a 747. I'd been reading up on the damned thing for months before we flew, devouring "How It Works" books and whatever else I could get my hands on in the library (this was 1982!). When we finally did fly on that 747 Classic, and I got to visit the flightdeck, well, I guess it was bitter-sweet - I already knew where almost every button and switch was (...and no FMC in those days - Litton INS!), but I also knew I would never be able to call it my "office" in the future.

At least I can say I know what it's like to have flown "The Queen", and to at least have had one of my own dreams at least partially realised thanks to BA's previously enlightened policy of public simulator access.

Hopefully you might find an alternative venue in the future.
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