British Airways has started the roll out of its brand-new uniform, with more than 5,000 colleagues working in the airline’s engineering, maintenance and airport operations teams across the world wearing the new garments.
The uniform, designed by British, Ghanaian Saville Row fashion designer and master tailor, Ozwald Boateng OBE, will be worn by more than 30,000 of the airline’s colleagues in total, later this year. The next stage of the rollout will include British Airways’ cabin crew, pilots and customer facing colleagues in September this year.
More than 128,000 garment items have been ordered by British Airways’ operational ground colleagues, with the new wardrobe offering more choices than ever before. The entire operational collection offers more than 20 unique garments, including a brand-new quilted jacket with a contemporary design featuring a bespoke airwave print. This unique airwave print is a consistent feature across garments in the collection. The jacket has a fleece lining and is showerproof, ensuring colleagues are kept warm and dry. Garments have also been designed with practicality in mind, including additional pockets for tools, detachable tool belts and gloves with touch screen technology.
The entire collection was developed in collaboration with the airline’s colleagues over five years, with more than 1,500 colleagues across the airline volunteering their time to help shape the look and feel. Colleagues took part in more than 50 workshops from design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials to help create the iconic British designs.
During the design process, Boateng shadowed different airport roles to understand each role’s requirements and ensure the suitability of the designs. Once developed, the new garments were put to the test with secret trials. As part of the trials, deluge showers and freezers at -18 degrees Celsius were used to ensure water resistance and durability of the garments.
René de Groot, British Airways’ Chief Operating Officer said:
“This uniform has been multiple years in the making, and colleagues are genuinely excited to wear the collection, which they’re calling a step change from the previous garments, offering much more practicality. I’m delighted that airport operations, cargo, engineering and maintenance colleagues across our airports and bases worldwide will be the first to transition into the new designs.”
As part of the airline’s sustainability programme BA Better World, sustainability has been integral to the design of the new uniforms and the recycling of the old uniforms. As British Airways’ operational ground teams begin to wear their new uniform, they will hand back their current uniform, which will be donated to chosen charities or recycled. The airline is still exploring multiple options for recycling the garments, including creating a sustainable range of merchandise and gifting certain items to the British Airways Heritage Centre.