Virtual Airlines bring not only structure and organization to flight simulation, but also community and advanced tools and resources that may otherwise be unavailable. From an aviation enthusiasts looking to experience the corporate environment of commercial aviation to those passionate about aviation but unable to fly themselves due to financial, health or other reasons, Virtual Airlines provide a solution to all interested pilots.
A common misconception is that Virtual Airlines and Flying Clubs are the same. There is, however a distinct differentiation: Virtual Airlines simulate their real world counterpart to provide a realistic environment while Flying Clubs are significantly less structured and are designed to be more similar to a social club.
Virtual Airlines first originated in the early 1990s alongside the first flight simulators. Subsequent technological advances led to a rapid growth of virtual airlines into the new millennium. During this time, multiple online networks were formed, most notably: VATSIM and IVAO.
While the simulator technology has continued evolving, many virtual airlines have failed to keep up with recent technology resulting in the Millennial Generation to form and launch new organizations and virtual airlines using modern technology to compete with what are now becoming legacy virtual airlines.