Virgin Atlantic’s new A350-1000 aircraft, which come in to service later this year, will not only showcase the brand’s award-winning onboard product and flying experience, but also its commitment to diversity. Replacing the ‘Varga Lady’ livery which has decorated all of its planes for the last 30 years, will be a new collection of icons designed to reflect the diversity of modern Britain. In the words of Virgin Atlantic itself, they want to “encourage people from all backgrounds to feel at home flying with us, but also working with us.

The new icons, which include a black man and woman, and a gay man, are named ‘Zadie’, ‘Rey’, ‘Daley’, ‘Oscar’ and ‘Meera’. These figures of diversity will feature on the 12 A350-1000’s that will eventually join the Virgin Atlantic fleet. The original, ‘Varga’, was named after the pin-up girls of the 1930s and 40s, painted by Alberto Vargas. There are no plans to replace her on the existing aircraft.

The news of Virgin Atlantic’s latest tease comes as it builds excitement about its new aircraft, with the reveal of it’s new Upper Class seat coming soon. It also comes not long after the airline announced it is no longer making it mandatory for its female cabin crew to wear make up, and was providing them with the option of trousers in their uniforms. Virgin Atlantic has pledged to increase diversity and inclusion by creating a 50/50 gender split in leadership roles, as well as 12% black, Asian and minority ethnic group representation across the company, by 2022.

Want to find out more? Read all about equality in aviation.

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