WHEN ANY AIRLINE announces new routes serving Hong Kong or enhanced frequencies to meet burgeoning passenger demand, it's a fair bet that will also translate directly into the creation of new jobs. Oasis Hong Kong Airlines and Virgin Atlantic may be two carriers with contrasting histories and different market targets, but both airlines recently announced plans for new links between Hong Kong and London. Both have also initiated recruitment campaigns looking to fill a significant number of positions locally. Oasis Hong Kong Airlines believes it can transform the long-haul travel industry by launching its low-fare, inaugural service to London this October. Billed as 'Hong Kong's newest airline', the company has already announced the hiring of experienced management personnel and more than 200 flight and cabin crew. However, its recruitment programme still requires 40 more pilots and additional cabin crew to meet the intended headcount. 'Consumers are increasingly price conscious and I believe we have a business model that not only delivers on price, but offers passengers a flexible and high-quality service,' said the airline's chief executive Stephen Miller. He added that recruits were offered excellent remuneration packages, including medical insurance and, in some cases, accommodation as well. Most of the recent hires already have extensive experience with other airlines. Despite this, they can expect to receive rigorous training plus periodic refresher courses on all the key aspects of service and safety. To find the best candidates, recruitment has taken place in Hong Kong and around the world. The airline is continuing to look for applicants who are enthusiastic, confident and approachable. These qualities are assessed closely during the screening process and then in one-to-one meetings and panel interviews. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to increase its frequency between Hong Kong and London Heathrow to twice daily. The upgraded service will initially fly three times a week from November, and will then become a daily route in February next year. It is the result of strong growth in passenger numbers on the route, with the airline recording an impressive year-on-year increase of 9 per cent on the Britain to Hong Kong sector in the first quarter of this year. That came after a company record total of 464,601 inbound passengers arriving from Britain in 2005. A spokesman for the airline said the extra flights were evidence of a continued commitment to making Hong Kong a pivotal Asian hub. One indisputable sign of this is the current recruitment drive, which aims to take on about 100 cabin crew. 'We are confident that many interested individuals will want to join a company like ours, which puts customer service at the heart of everything we do,' said Virgin Atlantic's public relations and marketing executive Ka Lo Man. She said candidates should have warm personalities and should be good team players. They should also have a passion to serve, and no difficulty working with colleagues and customers from different cultural backgrounds. Ms Man said other basic prerequisites were right of abode in Hong Kong, three years of customer service experience, fluency in English and Cantonese and the ability to swim at least 25 metres. The remuneration packages on offer include attractive benefits. Foremost among them are medical insurance, discounted travel, a retirement scheme and 21 days of annual leave. Successful applicants undertake a six-week training programme in Britain, starting in September. The three main parts of the course will cover safety procedures, medical care and customer services. Cabin crew will be ready to work from November. Looking ahead, Ms Man said the company saw potential growth on both the London and Sydney routes. The strategy was to keep load factors high throughout the year and to increase frequencies in line with market demand, while giving the best choice of time slots and service features. 'We have been serving Hong Kong for 12 years now,' she said. 'Our passengers see us as fun, cheeky and passionate in terms of our brand. In future, we will keep observing changes in market demand and will propose more flights when necessary to cater for passenger needs.'