Virgin Atlantic Reveals New A350-1000 Liveries

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.

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Zadie will be the first new icon since the Varga Girl was introduced. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The second A350 to be delivered will feature the second new female icon which is named Rey.

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Rey will become the second new Virgin Atlantic icon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Meanwhile, the third A350 will sport the first male icon. This new icon will be named Daley.

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Daley will be the first male icon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The final icon to be delivered in 2019 will feature Oscar, another male icon.

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Oscar will be the final icon delivered in 2019. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

One final icon will join the airline in 2020 with the delivery of the fifth A350-1000. This icon’s name will be Meera.

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Meera will be the final new icon to join the fleet in 2020. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Icon history

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.

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An artist’s impression of the A350 with the Zadie Icon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

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!