Dark future for airline garb


(eTN) – Air New Zealand will make changes to its controversial cabin crew uniform, with chief executive Rob Fyfe admitting that the colour is too pale.

The predominantly teal and schist colour uniform, designed by fashion label Zambesi, was launched at the end of 2005.

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However, it has been criticised for its “Thunderbirds” look, is difficult to keep clean, is easily creased and unflattering on larger female staff.

Passengers have also confused male cabin crew, dressed in the more casual open collar shirt option, with fellow passengers.

Fyfe said the colour of the uniform would be changed to a darker shade rather than a new colour.

While the uniform looked good on darker-skinned staff, European employees could look “washed out”, he said.

Jackets, skirts and trousers worn by management are a darker slate colour.

Some accessories like scarves would also be updated as part of a periodic refresh programme, Fyfe said.

A spokeswoman said the uniform would continue to reflect New Zealand’s natural environment, “but in some cases will go a shade darker next year to keep the look fresh and up-to-date”.

Staff had been encouraged to provide feedback on their uniform, but none approached yesterday were prepared to comment publicly. A final decision on the changes would be made in early January.

It costs an estimated $2 million to supply the 3000 staff members with a uniform each and most employees required more than one uniform.