Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to feature new Flying Icons on its forthcoming A350 fleet, as the carrier pledges to “tackle its gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across the business”.
The airline has traditionally featured the Flying Lady on its aircraft, inspired by ship figureheads and based on the pin up girls made famous by painter Alberto Vargas.
But new A350 deliveries will now feature a series of five Flying Icons which it says represent its customers and workforce. Virgin says it will be the first airline to feature male figureheads on its aircraft.
The move is part of a target to have a 50:50 gender balance in leadership roles, as well as 12 per cent black, Asian and minority ethnic group (BAME) representation across the company by 2022.
Commenting on the news Nikki Humphrey, SVP of People at Virgin Atlantic said:
“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. We have 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.”
Virgin is set to receive four A350-100s this year, followed by a further eight by 2021. The carrier is set to unveil its new A350 Upper Class seat at an event on April 8.