What is a Virtual Airline?
A Virtual Airline (VA) is a member-driven group which aims to simulate the flights and operations of an airline, charter operation or flying club. Some may be based on real world companies while others are fictional. The route structure of virtual airlines may be regional, national, continental, or global.
Each VA is different in terms of how "realistic" it is in different areas: for example; ranking structure, the amount of training required to fly different aircraft types, the corporate management structure, and standard operating procedures. This wide variety almost guarantees there is a VA using our network that should suit your individual needs.
VATSIM maintains an extensive list of "approved" virtual airlines that meet basic guidelines encompassing size, longevity, and activity on this network. To ascertain whether your VA meets the guideline requirements fo to my.vatsim.net>Policy>Virtual Airlines and Special Operations Policy and locate the requirements listed (pg. 6 section 2.3.1). If your VA meets these requirements you are encouraged to submit an application for review by going to the my.vatsim.net main menu>Virtual Airlines and click the 'Apply' button.
Partner VAs & Special Operations
VATSIM has partnerships with over 300 virtual airlines and special operations organizations from around the world. Special Operations organizations (SOAs) have been created to simulate military, paramilitary, and governmental flight operations. The specialized nature of these operations mandates that SOAs adhere to specialized requirements.
Our relationship with these organizations is one of mutual benefit. Being listed as a VA/SOA Partner gives the VAs and organizations exposure on our publically accessible database of virtual airlines and essentially, a VATSIM stamp of approval. In return, they help spread the word about VATSIM through the link and logo placed on their website.For those who partake in "special operations", becoming a partner also gives their members allowances under the Special Operations Guidelines to take part in otherwise prohibited activities.
To become an approved VSOA there is a slightly different process involved than that of becoming a mainstream VA partner. There are extra requirements surrounding pilot training that must be provided in addition to the rules and requirements that govern all VA organizations. If additional information or assistance is required open a ticket to request more information about becoming a VA/SOA partner.
Special Operations Guidelines
On VATSIM, members must be approved as a member of an SOA before they can fly military, paramilitary or other special operations on the network. The flying of special aircraft is not prohibited, but unless the pilot is an approved member of an SOA they must be flown in accordance with civil procedures. "Special" operations include (but are not limited to): any military/paramilitary activity or exercises, aerial refueling, high speed formation flying, search and rescue, fire-fighting and law enforcement. More information can be found in the Special Operations Guidelines or the shorter Overview.
Virtual Airline Associate
Virtual Airlines that are unable to comply with all of the requirements to be a Partner may be eligible to participate in the Virtual Airline Associate (VAA) program. This program is intended for VAs that are newly formed, developing,and/or attempting to add members to their pilot roster working toward the goal of becoming a Partner. VAs accepted as VAA participants will be recognized as such by VATSIM and will be audited on a periodic basis to determine if they are making solid progress toward achieving that goal. They will also have the opportunity to work with a designated mentor to assist them in fulfilling the requirements to become a Partner.