The longstanding “Flying Lady” motif will not feature on Virgin Atlantic‘s incoming Airbus A350-1000s, as the UK carrier is instead adopting range of “Flying Icons” that reflect a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Virgin Atlantic says the move is part of a “pledge to tackle its gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across the business”, which extends to “the look and feel of the brand”.
The individuals featured in the new motifs are a “range of men and women representing modern Britain”, the airline states, whereas its Flying Lady was based on “the pin-up girls made famous by Alberto Vargas in the 1930s and 1940s”.
The five icons are named Daley, Meera, Oscar, Rey and Zadie, and reflect diversity in ethnicity and sexual orientation. Similarities with the Flying Lady remain, however, given that the individuals are young and lightly clothed.
“The saying goes ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and that has never been truer than the aviation industry’s glamorous image in the past,” states Nikki Humphrey, senior vice-president of people at Virgin Atlantic. “By introducing our new Flying Icons I hope it encourages people from all backgrounds to feel at home flying with us, but also working with us.”
Virgin Atlantic is set to receive four A350-1000s this year, and a further eight by the end of 2021.