By Stacey Leasca
April 03, 2019
New Flying Icons for Virgin Atlantic
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

After 35 years, Virgin Atlantic is officially retiring its mascot, the Flying Lady. But don’t worry, as there are several other icons taking her place.

The original Flying Lady, who wore a red dress and a Union flag cape, was inspired by the second world war pin-ups by artist Alberto Vargas, The Guardian reported. After serving the airline for many years the Flying Lady she will come off the planes and be replaced by five new characters.

“The airline wants the new imagery to reflect the diversity of Britain today,” the airline shared in a statement.

As the company noted, it has already pledged to tackle its own gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across its business. The airline set its sights on gender parity in its leadership roles and is aiming for at least 12 percent black, Asian, and minority ethnic group representation across the company by 2022.

“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,” Nikki Humphrey, senior vice president of people at Virgin Atlantic, said in the statement. “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.”

New Flying Icons for Virgin Atlantic
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Virgin’s new icons, The Guardian reported, will appear on the airline’s new long-haul A350 planes, which are set to take flight this summer.

The new icons cover a “range of men and women representing modern Britain,” Virgin shared. According to Flight Icon, the five icons are named Daley, Meera, Oscar, Rey and Zadie. Each one is meant to reflect diversity in ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Beyond the new icons, the new planes will also have new names including Rain Bow and Mamma Mia.