Chichester’s Billy flying high in new airline role

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A SCHOOLBOY has become Virgin Atlantic’s first ever junior approvals manager.

Billy Yeomans, ten, from Oakwood School, Chichester, has been appointed by Virgin Atlantic to test and approve the airline’s newly refurbished 747 fleet after winning a nationwide search to find the next Sir Richard Branson.

He was chosen from more than 600 applicants to become the airline’s first junior approvals manager in an initiative spearheaded by Mr Branson himself.

Billy, a ‘plane crazy, aviation and adventure enthusiast’ wowed judges by creating his own plane cabin in his family home, collecting more than 30 aeroplane safety cards and navigating his dad on a flight to Switzerland.

During his inspection at Gatwick Airport, Billy had free reign of the plane.

He was given exclusive access to the in-flight entertainment system and, after dipping into some movies and then settling on playing a game, he described it as ‘brilliant’.

Billy also taste-tested a new menu, being launched along with the refitted cabins, and was served by the glamorous Virgin Atlantic cabin crew.

“I gave the plane a really thorough inspection,” said Billy.

“I could have sat for hours watching movies and playing on the games, even the food was quite tasty although it doesn’t beat my Mum’s home cooking.

“When I grow up I’d love to be a pilot.”

He will now submit a full report to Mr Branson giving his verdict on the fleet.

Billy finished the day with a test of the redesigned seats, even having a quick nap.

Once his report has been approved, the planes will go on to take over 650 flights a year.

Billy’s role is not over, however, as he will now give a child’s-eye view on future improvements.

He will also act as a sounding board for all child-focused developments undertaken by the airline.

Speaking before Billy’s visit Mr Branson said: “As a child I was mad about planes and the sense of adventure and excitement of being in the sky.

“We wanted to find someone who feels the same way as I still do about flying.

“Billy was the perfect young man for the job and he is going to be giving our newly refitted 747s the once over; watching films, eating our food and rating our wonderful cabin crew.

“Hopefully he’ll have great fun doing it too.”

A video of Billy’s video is on You Tube under the title Meet Sir Richard Branson’s First Ever Air-prentice.