Virgin Atlantic Base: Training Facilities

Desco’s most recent project with Virgin was the transformation of The Base — Virgin Atlantic’s £40m state-of-the-art flight and cabin crew training facility at the company’s head office campus in Crawley, Surrey.

The building, which was originally home to a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, has been transformed from a warren of dark offices, manufacturing facilities and laboratories into a light, airy complex covering 22,000m2.

The project included all aspects of building services and took inspiration from modern airport design. From the original acquisition survey to the removal of old manufacturing facility features; we were able to come up with the final design and installation of the new building services.

The building now houses over 50 training classrooms, office space, a restaurant, auditorium, warehousing and disaster recovery suite.

At the heart of the building is Virgin’s new training rig area, which has been designed to accommodate entire mock-up sections of aircraft for accurate aviation simulation of all onboard situations, as well as airport check-in desks for ground crew training.

The roof of the building even had to be raised by 5m to accommodate the latest large aircraft escape slides. The rigs have been enclosed by full-height glazing to enable visitors to view the training first-hand. Atriums and roof lights have been provided throughout the building, to flood it with natural daylight, while a virtual town square has been created which provides a café, salon, retail facilities and a quiet area for air crew.


Virgin Atlantic Airways – The Base


Surrey, UK



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