Creating a Virtual Airline/Organization
The Infinite Flight Virtual Airline Regulatory Board is designed and intended to enhance the VA sector of the Infinite Flight Community. The IFVARB is intended to make VAs more professional, organised, and in line with the guidelines and standards of the community. In addition, the IFVARB helps clear up some of the clutter on the forum that certain members find inconvenient and irritating. While also making the presence of Virtual Airlines clearer, more beneficial, and less confusing for those interested. Our main goal is to benefit new and existing VAs that add value to the community by creating a professional, organised, and pleasant atmosphere for like-minded individuals to thrive and grow within. Below, you will find information on how the IFVARB certification system works and some useful tips while creating your VA or VO.
- Operating website: Virtual Airlines are required to have an operating website before submitting their application. This includes a valid URL in your application, a website that has been well thought out and edited, and is original to your virtual airline.
- Operations Plan: In your application, you MUST provide an operations plan. This can be created via Google Docs, and submitted to us directly in the application. Please make sure your file is on public view for our team to be able to review.
- Experience Statement: Like your Operation Plan, you must provide an experience statement that talks about why you are a good candidate to be a CEO with the IFVARB. Information about what is necessary is provided below.
Please review the IFVARB Database linked above to be sure that your airline is not already reserved. In some instances unfortunately, a Virtual Airline is restricted for various reasons, and is operating under a different name than their livery. For example, Non Stop Virtual operates as Lufthansa.
For questions, please contact an admin.
These are the steps that should be followed in the VA/VO certification process:
- Search the Official IFVARB Database and make sure your airline is not already taken.
- Submit an application via the Apply Page. Please provide your Experience Statement* and Operations Plan*. They MUST be shared publicly in Google Documents. You will also get an Admin assigned to you based on the region of your VA/VO*.
- An IFVARB Admin will contact you directly in the Infinite Flight Community to inform you whether you are cleared to enter the review wait-line or not.
- Your application and website will be graded by multiple members. Feedback will be given with suggestions for edits or other changes for the VA/VO. You can view the reveiws through the Status Page. You can get your reservation code in the email that was sent to you when you filled out the application. An IFVARB Leader will be your main point of contact if any questions or concerns arise.
- Once approved, you will be added to the active database found Here and will be allowed to post in the #VA category on the Infinite Flight Community.
The Experience Statement allows us to get a bigger picture of you as a potential CEO. It contains 4 questions:
- Why do you want to start a VA/VO?
- What do you hope to get from starting a VA/VO?
- Why are you a good candidate for running a VA/VO?
- What previous experience have you had with VA/VO, and what position and responsibilities have you had during that time?
Be honest and specific. There isn’t really a wrong answer to any of these questions, however more interesting and detailed responses are more likely to impress the staff groups, making them more likely to want to work with you. Your experience statement must be in Google Docs format with a viewable link provided to the admin. This is to enable the IFVARB staff to view your statement when necessary.
The Operations Plan provides the IFVARB staff groups with information about your potential VA. You are required to have your website ready for the first review stage in the process. Please link your website in your operations plan. Again, more detailed and interesting plans are likely to attract the member groups, so put in effort now- it could mean you are certified quicker in the long run. To create your operations plan, click here and make a copy of the document. You should be able to edit it after this is done. Make sure that link sharing is on before you submit it in your application.
The Basic Essentials can be remembered by the simple acronym: FRR
- F: Fleet – If your airline is based on a real-world counterpart, make sure the fleet is somewhat realistic to fit the Airline. If your airline is original, you may have fun with the fleet. Remember to maintain a professional image when doing this though, as some people won’t be inclined to join a VA with a fleet consisting of a 787, Cirrus and F-22.
- R: Ranking System – Ever since IFVARB took over, we have seen an increase in the use of ranking systems in VAs. A ranking system should be simple and be comprised of at least 3 major parts: First Officer, Captain and Chief Captain. Though a ranking system is not required, having it will help your VA’s chances of getting approved by the Board.
- R: Routes – Once again, if a VA is modeled off of a real world airline, the routes should be similar to the actual airline.Make sure that your VA is also preparing for the upcoming global update, which will most certainly come as a surprise. Preparing for the update not only gives you an edge over those who have not yet prepared when it does come, but also gives you an edge in the IFVARB process.
The VA website should show what you are most proud of in your VA. Remember that this is the main aspect used in the IFVARB process, so make sure you do it justice!
Have some original aspects to the website that no other VAs will have! Make sure to appeal to the user base – if your VA isn’t original, there aren’t many people that will want to join it. Items like crew portals, flight planning, LiveFlight maps of the VA pilots and other items (we won’t give everything – if we did it wouldn’t be unique) are very appealing to prospective pilots and staff members. These items make your VA stand out from the crowd, which leads to more pilots!
If you are modeling your VA after a real life airline, please be sure to include prominently that your VA is not affiliated with the actual airline. It is also advised to provide a link to the real airline just in case. If possible, a splash screen is suggested to advise of this. This will help to separate your VA from the airline and to minimize legal action. (aka, take down your site)
Your VA brand is also one of the most appealing aspects to your future pilots. Make sure to take some time developing your themes, thread structure, logos and events.
Theme: Your VA “theme” (as we will call it here) should be a message that is reinforced to make your VA stand out from the crowd. Examples include Southwest Virtual143’s “Heart sets us apart” and British Airways15’ “Feel the British Flair”. When creating this theme, make sure it is short and easy to remember. This way, many aspiring pilots will remember your VA. A theme may also include special graphics, polls (like United Virtual24’s event polls) or a series of related articles on a website.
- Thread Structure: Your VA's thread should have multiple images and graphics that pertain to your VA or its message. Items like American Virtual’s and Qantas Virtual’s #GreatMates Graphic. These graphics offer views a visual representation of what you are saying in your thread, a big plus when designing your VA.
- Logos and Images: Logos and other branding images and graphics are some of the most important aspects to the professionalism level of your VA. Custom graphics really draw in pilots like those of Jet2 Virtual and Lufthansa Virtual. Having the custom graphics and logos gives you a good status with the IFVARB as well. A VA logo should be simple, and yet still have some level of sophistication to it. Logos like IFATS13’ and TravelSky’s are very professional and is simple, and also rings a bell when pilots see it.
- Events: A VA’s events should be unique and allow for some fun as well! Events like United Virtual24’s 747 Frenzy are exactly what the board are looking for. Events that offer some fun, with a theme that pertains to the VA. We won’t give you too many examples, as we want to see some more really original events from VAs!
In the world of infrastructure, less is more, meaning giving fewer people more power is more meaningful than giving lots of people very small areas of coverage. As most of our Virtual Airlines use Slack or Discord, we would recommend one owner and around 6-8 admins. When everyone has admin, admin means nothing. In terms of ranking, keep it simple with these criteria for promotion:
- Flight Hours
- Maturity and Behavioural History
Once you have your ranking system down, you must create a board of directors and that’s it. No need for presidents and other such things. Here is an ideal board of directors:
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) - the big boss or Mr Manager (kudos to those who get that reference). The CEO’s role is to supervise and organize ideally they should assign roles and bring it all together, as well as approve and request any changes.
Head of Internal Affairs - their role is to manage the member’s of the Virtual Airlines, from afar they are responsible for changes to the curriculum or ranking system in conjunction with the COO
COO (Chief Operating Officer) - they are responsible for day to day operating of your Virtual Airline and ensuring it all goes smoothly, accounting for any change along the way. They are more “boots on the ground” than the CEO but still play a very large part in the major decisions, regarding the operations of said Virtual Airline.
Recruiter - this is the person responsible for bringing in new pilots, vetting them and ensuring they are fit for flying with your Virtual Airline
HR Manager - they follow the same guidelines as the director of internal affairs, but on a more individual basis, responsible for making sure disputes are resolved and the Virtual Airline is a ** safe and fun** place for all
Chief Pilot - this individual ensure pilot activity and skill is kept constant and to a high standard. As well as ensuring that any changes that are needed, are put into the pipeline.
Head of Public Relations - this person’s role is to ensure that the Virtual Airline is associated with that of professionalismand if desired, realism. They must keep the website and main announcement thread up to date and relevant
The IFVARB does not have an official stance on the type of communications platform virtual airlines must use. We do recommend Discord; official Infinite Flight teams, like the IFATC, as well as the IFVARB and many VAs have switched to using Discord to utilize its extensive administrative controls, ease of use with roles and bots, and voice channels. However, there are other platforms, such as the IFC or Slack, which VAs can opt for.
As mentioned in the infrastructure section above, less is more in terms of admins. If everyone receives admin, it doesn’t mean anything and you leave yourself extremely open to trolling and other such nastiness. We recommend keeping admin privileges restricted to top level leadership.
Lastly, while voice channels can be fun, please keep in mind that voice ATC services are still strictly prohibited, and it is on VA leadership to moderate voice channel activity. Any significant issues in voice channels, such as bullying, may lead to the suspension of the VA. Please refer to voice channel rules below for more information.
Voice Channel Guidelines
The following strict guidelines will apply to all VA/VO's that choose to operate voice communications either through a Discord channel, Zoom, or other applying voice communication.
- Voice communications are a privilege that can be restricted from any VA/VO at the discretion of the IFVARB and or IFC Moderation team.
- The CEO/Person Responsible of a VA/VO is ultimately responsible for moderating voice channels and its contents. The IFVARB will NOT moderate voice communications and any issues within voice channels will be handled by the VA/VO.
- VA/VOs are responsible for maintaining communications up to IFC standards, IFC rules surrounding acceptable communications should be the VA/VO's guide towards acceptable content. We leave access permissions of voice channels up to the VA/VO staff on who may partake in them. All voice channels must be regulated by a VA/VO in order to ensure that user safety is maintained at all times. Unregulated voice channels are prohibited.
- Voice recording in any channel is strictly prohibited. Staff meetings and VA/VO meetings can be recorded with explicit written permission of all parties involved.
- Voice ATC operations are STRICTLY prohibited within all VA/VO communities.
- Streaming and video within channels is prohibited.
- Infinite Flight and the IFVARB are independent of any voice communications that take place within the VA/VO community. VA/VOs that are in breach of these regulations will have its voice communication hosting privileges revoked.
In Summary - VA Checklist
- VA website
- VA thread and method of signing up
- VA key staff (see infrastructure)
- VA pilots
- VA events
You are able to reserve an airline if you meet the requirements on our Apply Page here on our website. It is important to meet all the requirements and provide all the information asked for in the application to successfully reserve an airline.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can either Personal Message them on the Infinite Flight Community or Direct Message them via the IFVARB Discord Server. The administrator team can be found below with their contact information linked.
Once an application is submitted, now is a time for patience! The IFVARB Admin team will be reviewing your application as a team, sometimes this phase can be quick, sometimes it will take a few days. If we have any questions, we will be reaching out to you directly via a PM on the Infinite Flight Community.
Typically, an application will be reviewed within 48 to 72 hours, however, sometimes that can be higher due to various circumstances with the Admin team being available.
Now that your application is approved, this is the best time to perfect your Virtual Airline. Your VA has entered our queue for certification and will be picked up by a VARB Leader in the coming weeks. Each Leader has a set number of VA's that they are in process of reviewing, and new VA's are picked up on a first-come, first-serve basis as each Leader in able. In the meantime, be looking over your website for how you can perfect and improve upon it. A large part of certification is website review, so the better the site looks and as accurate as it can be from the start, the quicker certification can be once your VA is picked up by a Leader.
There is not an exact estimation for how long approval can be. There are various factors that play into this as well as the activity of the VA and the review process. Typically, a VA may take one to two months to complete certification. Once in the review phase, this goes fairly quickly as long as the VA CEO is active in addressing necessary changes.
Typically, codeshares are created between VA's that are already certified. However, you may already be starting the communication with VA's to discuss codeshare options and creating partnerships. VA CEO's will appreciate you reaching out to them in a calm demeanor. Codeshare agreements cannot be made until the VA is certified, however, they can be agreed upon based on completing the certification process.
There are many options to find what routes an airline flies. Many websites will have a route map that is accessible from their real-world website, some are even interactive where you can display flight information from them. Others use databases such as FlightAware or FlightRadar to track flights and mark them down.
VA's are able to fly generic aircraft when a livery does not exist for an aircraft. This is typical for many VA's, as not all liveries are available in app - even for some of the major airlines.
Patience is key during certification. Sometimes there can be a few weeks between stages and this is not abnormal. We work on a pace that is as fast as our CEO's are able to operate - we prefer quality over quantity when it comes to certifications so we make sure each VA in certification is as perfect as it can be before launched to the community. Some certification's can take place within days of starting, some can take a month or two.
All of our IFVARB staff are volunteers and have a busy life in the real world (hard to believe, right?). If you do not hear from us in about three days from your last message, don't be afraid to bump your PM with us. This doesn't mean spam us, but it is fair to give us a nudge every once in awhile unless we express that there will be a few days between things.
There are many different avenues to host a route database on. Many will use various crew centers to host their database. Some will go a different way and host them on locations like Air Table or GoogleDocs.
A handbook is not required, but it is suggested to have ready as our Board Members can provide a pivotal review of a handbook to make sure all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted. This helps your VA be ready for launch. While you may not have it complete at the top of applying, we suggest having it ready by the time the VA/VO enters the certification review stage.
Absolutely, it is encouraged to start VA/VO's with people you know as you are more likely to know their work ethic.
The IFVARB leaves decisions up to the CEO and staff of a VA to be handled internally. We will provide advice, but we leave the decisions to the VA manager. For serious issues that should be escalated, we ask that these be brought to our attention through a PM on the IFC to IFVARB.
Yes, VA's are not permitted to use routes from another VA without expressed and clear permission. VA's found to be doing so will be forced to remove them immediately. Continued problems with such can lead to a de-listing of the VA.
The IFVARB tries to promote realism, however, we leave it to the VA's to create partnerships throughout the community which can include codeshares that may not exist in the real world. There are several alliances and partnerships that this is the case.
If a Virtual Airline does not exist for a route you would like to use that does not operate with your airline in the real world, you are unable to use that as a codeshare.
The best thing to do is to just update your documentation as available to you. We ask that an experience statement and operations plan should be ready for submission, however, if something changes after your application, you may simply edit that on the document. If you have a major change, such as a change of a link, contact IFVARB via a PM on the IFC.