Ruby
 

Say hello to the new faces of Virgin Atlantic

By: Dave Gunner

April 2, 2019

We’re saying farewell to our Flying Lady and welcoming five new “Flying Icons” to adorn our brand new Airbus A350-1000 fleet. The high flyers are a diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain, rolled out on four brand new aircraft this year, followed by a further eight by 2021.

Our use of the Flying Lady was inspired by figureheads that have decorated ships since the 16th century. The artwork was based on the pin up girls made famous by Alberto Vargas in the 1930s and 1940s.

This move represents a big change for us following our pledge to tackle our gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across the business, and this is mirrored in the look and feel of the brand. We’re aiming to have a 50:50 gender balance in leadership roles, as well as at least 12% black, Asian and minority ethnic group (BAME) representation across the company, by 2022.

We were a founding member of Women in Aviation and Aerospace in 2018 as well as a signatory of the Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure charter (of which Nikki Humphrey, our SVP of People sits on the board). We’ve also ensured greater diversity with our engineering apprenticeship and pilot cadet schemes and have developed a Springboard Network which aims to help women in junior roles develop clear career pathways to become senior leaders.

One of the decals being cut at CGI Creative Graphics International Limited ahead of application onto the aircraft.

With our latest brand campaign, we’ve become the first company to show a same sex couple in our ad imagery in India, and will be the first airline to have male figureheads on our aircraft. In a further move to increase equality, we’ve recently announced a change to our uniform and styling policy so that women can choose whether they would like trousers or a skirt, and removed requirements to wear makeup.

Nikki Humphrey, our Senior Vice President – People

“The saying goes ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ and that has never been truer than the aviation industry’s glamourous image in the past,” Nikki Humphrey said. “We’ve been working for a number of years to tackle our gender pay gap, create an inclusive workplace and increase the diversity of our workforce, through the development of our Springboard scheme for women, as well as the launch of engineering apprenticeships. 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.”


 

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Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.

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