British Airways has unveiled the new uniforms which will be worn by over 30,000 employees, more than four years after plans were first announced.
In September 2018 the carrier confirmed that British designer Ozwald Boateng OBE had been commissioned to create the range of new uniforms, and BA said Boateng had spent four years developing the collection “with painstaking care”.
It will be the first new British Airways uniforms in nearly 20 years, replacing the current range designed by Julien MacDonald OBE.
BA said that the new collection had taken inspiration from the airline’s people and the experience of flight, and features an airwave pattern “inspired by the movement of air over an aircraft wing”, as well as a variation of the carrier’s speedmarque on the jacquard fabric of all tailored garments.
The new range of uniforms includes a tailored three-piece suit for men, with regular and slim fit style trousers and dress, skirt and trouser options for women, as well as a jumpsuit – which BA says is an airline first. There are also tunic and hijab options.
British Airways said that Boateng had shadowed a number of airport roles “to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job and ensure a modern British, stylish look with high quality, resilient fabrics that are easy to care for”.
More than 1,500 employees took part in 50 workshops, and staff have been secretly testing the uniforms over the last six months on cargo flights and “while maintaining aircraft out of sight in Manchester and Cotswold Airports”.
Feedback led to amendments including easy access tool pockets being added to engineers’ uniforms, gloves with touchscreen fabrics being introduced for ground handlers, and cabin crew aprons being widened to help with meal service.
On the sustainability front, more than 90 per cent of garments have been produced using fabric from blends of recycled polyester, with the carrier working with members of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative.
Old Julien MacDonald-designed uniforms will be donated to charity or recycled to create toys and tablet holders, or gifted to the airline’s museum.
Engineers and ground operation agents will be the first to wear the new uniforms from spring 2023, followed by cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents from this summer.
Last year sister carrier Iberia launched its new uniform collection, based around the colours of navy blue and fawn, alongside the airline’s signature red and yellow.
Commenting on the news Sean Doyle, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand, something that will carry us into our future, representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers.
“From the very start this has been about our people. We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear and with the help of over 1,500 colleagues, we are confident that we have delivered this.”