Ahead of its Upper Class seat reveal next week, Virgin Atlantic has revealed the livery that the new A350-1000 aircraft will wear. The main change will see the flying lady replaced five new icons which represent the diversity of modern Britain.
Virgin Atlantic is set to receive 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, with the first four due to be delivered this year. The aircraft will debut on the London to New York route in September, with the first flight taking place as VS001 on 9th September. (Update: Virgin has confirmed that VS1 will not be the first A350 route, and was a systems test. We don’t know which route the A350 will operate, however, this is expected to be announced soon)
Meet the new icons
New icons will adorn the side of the A350-1000 in an attempt by Virgin Atlantic to recognise Britain’s diversity. While the existing fleet has a standard icon, the new A350s will have five different icons. In fact, the first A350 to be delivered will feature the icon named Zadie. Virgin is yet to confirm a delivery date, however, this could be announced at next week’s event.
The second A350 to be delivered will feature the second new female icon which is named Rey.
Meanwhile, the third A350 will sport the first male icon. This new icon will be named Daley.
The final icon to be delivered in 2019 will feature Oscar, another male icon.
One final icon will join the airline in 2020 with the delivery of the fifth A350-1000. This icon’s name will be Meera.
While it is unusual to find an icon on an aircraft, Virgin’s icon is inspired by 16th-century shipping. Since the 16th century, ships have been decorated with figureheads, however, the practice is less common these days. The icon which currently adorns the aircraft’s fleet is based on 1930-40s pin-up girls by Alberto Vargas, hence the “Varga Girl” name.
For the time being, the new icons will be exclusive to the A350 as the airline confirmed to Simple Flying that the existing fleet will not be repainted. With the Flybe fleet set to be repainted in Virgin’s livery, there is the chance that a Dash 8 wearing the icon. However, Virgin is yet to decide on the rebranding of the fleet.
Nikki Humphrey, Virgin’s SVP of People, told: “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.” Before going on to add: “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.”
What do you think of Virgin’s new icons? Let us know in the comments below!