Virgin Atlantic replaces flying lady emblem with diverse range of men and women

Virgin Atlantic’s flying lady emblem will not feature on new aircraft, the airline has announced.

The carrier said it is replacing its traditional image with a diverse range of men and women “representing modern Britain” on its new A350-1000 fleet.

Among the people wearing a red leotard in the new artwork will be a black man and woman, and a gay man.

Virgin Atlantic said it will be the first airline to have male figureheads on its aircraft.

One of the new Virgin Atlantic figureheads
The airline says it is ‘representing modern Britain’ with the new images (Virgin Atlantic/PA)

The flying lady was based on pin up girls made famous by Alberto Vargas in the 1930s and 1940s.

Virgin Atlantic’s announcement comes a month after it emerged the airline has stopped telling female cabin crew they have to wear make up. It has also started providing them with trousers as part of their standard uniform, rather than only if requested.

The carrier has pledged to tackle its gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion.

It is aiming to have a 50/50 gender split in leadership roles, as well as 12% black, Asian and minority ethnic group representation across the company, by 2022.

The flying lady
The flying lady has been an integral part of the airline’s branding (Steve Parsons/PA)

Nikki Humphrey, senior vice president 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 glamorous 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.”

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