New uniforms: Austrian Airlines votes red

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• 70 percent of female employees want to continue wearing red tights
• Participation in vote around 71.4 percent
• New uniform to be introduced in 2016 – with red tights and red shoes

The female employees of Austrian Airlines have made themselves heard: 1.352 employees or 70 percent of them have voted for the red tights and red shoes as part of the future uniform. 579 employees or 30 percent of them voted for the nude tights and black shoes. Austrian Airlines had included the ladies involved in the decision-making process over the design of the new uniform. In total, 1.931 out of 2.704 employees took part in the vote, which translates into a participation rate of 71.4 percent. Voting was possible for four weeks.

We really didn’t expect to see such a strong vote for red early on in the process,” said Andrea Pernkopf, Vice President Product and Marketing at Austrian Airlines. “When Austrian Airlines first introduced the red uniform and red tights back in 1996, it was accompanied by a period of intense discussion. The fact that our female staff have now voted so clearly for red tights twenty years down the road is something special. The red tights have become a valuable trademark of the company since first being introduced. From Tokyo to New York, our female employees are instantly recognisable because of them.”

The new uniform, which will be worn by around 3,500 “red uniform wearers” at the ‘stations’ (airports) and on board aircraft from 2016 onwards, has been created by Austrian fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder. Her proposal was chosen from a number of different designers from Austria. The Austrian firm Wagner & Glass will be tailoring the uniforms and supplying the materials used.

Austrian Airlines employs around 6,000 members of staff in total, around 3,500 of whom wear the red uniform. 2,700 female flight attendants and station staff wear the unmistakable red tights and red shoes. In addition to the logistical challenges, the quality of the materials used plays a crucial role. Each individual part of the uniform is wash- and wear-tested before being introduced, and the materials are also tested under laboratory conditions. A special working group will be accompanying the introduction of the new uniform.

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