Virgin Atlantic will adapt its longstanding livery by adding more diverse characters to its aircraft branding, including a gay flying man.
Virgin’s original ‘flying lady’ icon unfurling a Union Jack flag was designed by British artist Ken White and inspired by the 1940s ‘pin-up girl’ style of Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas.
The British airline has now announced that it’s time for change. It will feature more diverse men and women, such as a black woman and a man sporting rainbow colours on his thigh, on its Airbus A350-1000 fleet.
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.”
Humphrey 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 airline was founded in 1984 by Richard Branson who has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ equality. He recently spoke out against the introduction of the death penalty for homosexuality in Brunei.
“New laws in Brunei will punish adultery and gay sex with death by stoning. This abhorrent, inhuman and medieval piece of legislation has no place in the 21st century,” he tweeted.
Last year, Virgin Atlantic announced it would fly a “Pride flight” from London to New York on 28 June 2019, to coincide with WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots.