History of the real V-Bird
V-Bird was a Dutch charter airline with airport Dusseldorf Weeze (formerly known as Niederrhein) as its main hub. The company started flying on the 27th of October 2003. Its fleet consisted of three Airbus A320s, all leased from ILFC. For a while a fourth A320 (PH-BMC) joined the fleet, this one was leased from Dutchbird but was returned in May 2004. The aircraft were equipped with leather seats and a larger pitch of 32 inch to provide extra legroom, this meant the maximum passenger capacity was reduced from 180 to 162. The V-Bird aircraft were maintained by LTU, a former Dusseldorf-based charter airline taken over by Air Berlin in 2007.
V-Bird wanted to combine cheap airline-tickets with a lot of comfort for their passengers. Apart from the luxurious cabin the crew was very friendly, check-in was a piece-of-cake and the schedule was very agreeable. V-Bird provided a no-nonsense service by flying only to primary airports at major cities. V-Bird's destinations were Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Maastricht, Manchester, Munich, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Rome, Las Palmas, Prague, Thessalonica and Stockholm. Also the business travelers had benefits. If you had flown on business for nine times you would get the tenth flight for free! Included in their service were low fares without suprises. All ticket prices shown were including taxes or supplements. Prices ranged from 29 to a maximum of 99 euro's.
Although very popular with passengers, V-Bird didn't make much profit and they got into financial difficulties. V-Bird was negotiating a merger with the ExelAviationGroup, led by entrepeneur Erik de Vlieger. On the 8th of October 2004 the negotiations crashed and all flights were cancelled, after the leasing company grounded its A320s. On the 14th of October 2004 bankruptcy was pronounced by the court in Maastricht, the Netherlands. It was two months later when the news came out V-Bird would not restart its operations and was gone forever, leaving nearly 200 employees without a job.
It was in Januari 2005 when a report came out saying V-Bird had never made any profit. Even before any flight was conducted, it already had a shortage of 830,000 euro's. Two months after the start of the airline debts were reaching 15 million euro's. In the end the total debt was calculated to be 40 million, including 4.1 million euro's of German tax payers.
History of the V-Bird VA Group
The V-Bird Virtual Airline (VBV) began in 2004 with the blessing (permission) of the real V-Bird. Initially there was a code-sharing relationship with the Dutchbird Virtual Airline. It was this code-share that attracted a lot of people who are still active pilots or even staffmembers today! In October of 2004 there was a change in CEO's. It was this change of vision that helped VBV to grow into what it is today -- one heck of a fun VA! When the real V-Bird went bankrupt at the end of 2004 there were doubts wether to continue with the virtual airline or not. We decided we had such a great bunch of people it would be a waste to let it all go.
We are fairly well known within the VA world in the Netherlands. The dedication and enthusiasm of our community is something we cherish and has made us what we are today. That is also what has driven us to expand and develop new capabilities for our pilots and it will continue to grow and evolve VBV. Over the years we have experimented with new websites, new divisions, new software etc etc. After a lot of trial and error, we switched to phpVMS in 2011, a virtual airline administration system which makes it possible to integrate many flight simulator software into one. We chose this system because of the convenience for our members and the many possibilities the system offered us.
Although we started as one virtual airline, we have now grown into a virtual airline group. In September 2009 we took the Ukrainian AeroSvit Virtual Airline under our wing to give it a second life. It was then that we decided to form a group, the V-Bird Virtual Airline Group. Because of the possibilities that phpVMS offered us and according to the principle of similarity, we decided to keep the same website design as the V-Bird VA, only with the AeroSvit theme.
As our community grew, we were increasingly asked if we couldn't do something with old planes or airlines. As a result, in 2011, we came up with the idea of founding Virtual Classics Airlines. The Virtual Classics Airlines (VCA) is a kind of subgroup consisting of several airlines ranging from very old to recently declared bankrupt. Again we use the same web design for this VA but with a different theme. In 2013, we decided to let go of the AeroSvit Virtual Airline, because of the disappointing number of pilots while it took a lot of time and data.
In 2021 a start will be made with a new website where the VCA no longer has a separate website, but everything is integrated into 1 website. The change is necessary because the phpVMS system is outdated and no longer meets all security aspects.
The Virtual Airline has changed a lot over the years. Often these changes came from suggestions from our members themselves! It's a great community that VBV will keep afloat to better itself!
Dare To Be Different!