From GA to Airline Captain at Virgin

The road to becoming a B737 captain is a long one and takes more than just a few solo flights and simulator sessions, explains AFAP Vice President – and Virgin Council Chair – Captain George Kailis.

“It took me a while to get a job because of the pilot’s dispute of 1989 in Perth so there were a lot of experienced pilots on the market, so my first job was around 1994 in Exmouth in WA,” he told

The road to captaincy however, started long before Captain Kailis even completed his first solo flight.

“Whenever dad would go away and I’d get upset if I couldn’t go to the airport to see the planes when he got dropped off and I just had a fascination with aviation, I wanted to fly, that’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Captain Kailis’ father was a dentist and travelling to remote communities in Western Australia to provide dental services to Indigenous communities was a function of his job.

His father’s advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Australians shaped his own views on speaking up and standing up for others.

“It creates one of the pieces of the tapestry of who you are and I think that’s where it comes through when advocating for pilots, I think that’s where all that fighting spirit comes from,” he explains proudly.

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