British airline Virgin Atlantic is making a push to diversify its brand by replacing the iconic flying lady painted on its planes in favour of new icons.
The original artwork, which was based on the pin-up girls made famous by Alberto Vargas in the 1930s and ’40s, will be replaced with five more diverse figureheads.
The aim is to show a “diverse range of men and women representing modern Britain”, the airline said in a statement. The five new icons will be rolled out on four new aircrafts this year, followed by a further eight by 2021.
“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,” Nikki Humphrey, the airline’s senior vice president, said.
Humphrey said Virgin Atlantic has been working for a number of years to tackle the gender pay gap and increase diversity across the business.
“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,” she added. “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.”
The move comes a month after the airline announced a change to their uniform and styling policy and removed requirements to wear makeup.