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Procurement diary

Spotlight on uniforms

Posted 20 Jan 2011

If you ask a lot of people what is most recognisable thing about Virgin Atlantic the chances are a fair few people will say our uniforms. With so many of our staff kitted out in uniforms it means our Uniforms team have a staggering 17,000 visitors each year. This week our Head of Uniforms (Sally Fairhurst) explains how sustainability is an important part of our uniforms process.

So Sally, what happens when a uniform gets returned to you?

It's really important to us that we recycle and re-use everything that we possibly can, when items first come in the Uniforms Team sort everything into categories. All buttons get removed and put in pots in the stores that staff are free to take for running repairs. Any items that are non-secure will be given to charities who support homeless people or the developing world. Anything secure will be cut horizontally so that it can't be reused and then the items will go to our recycling partners LMB for shredding down and then use in a variety of applications.

For more information about LMB check out their website at

How about Uniforms for staff outside the UK?

Well we transport uniforms in bulk, where possible overseas instead of as required in order to minimise the environmental impact of transporting them. The outstation managers look after destruction of uniforms locally so that they don’t need to be transported back to the UK. The same principle of minimising uniform movements is in place for new station start-ups with a member of the uniforms team going out to fit all uniforms to ensure a right first time approach. We’ve also recently moved all of our suiting production to Europe and that is also saving on very long journeys from China.

Virgin Atlantic makes Europe’s largest single order for fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Posted 25 Apr 2007

In April 2007, we announced an extensive partnership with aircraft manufacturer Boeing which included the largest order by a European airline for Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner. We ordered 15 of the 787-9 Dreamliners – with options on ordering another eight 787-9s and purchasing rights on a further 20 aircraft. The 787-9 Dreamliner burns around 27% less fuel per passenger than the A340-300, the aircraft it will replace in our fleet. The order will see Virgin Atlantic take delivery of our new planes from 2011 and could be worth up to US$8 billion.

The Boeing 787-9, which can carry up to 290 passengers depending on the bed or seat layout, brings a step change in aviation and will substantially reduce the industry's impact on the environment. Its innovative design, with over half of the aircraft built from composite materials, helps to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions significantly. The noise footprint of the 787-9 is also 60% lower than the A340-300, benefiting local communities living close to airports.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

"Virgin Atlantic is totally focused on delivering a cleaner airline in the air and on the ground, and our order today will significantly cut carbon emissions per 787 Dreamliner flight. With this dynamic new plane, our customers will get the world's best customer service onboard combined with world-class engineering throughout. The 787 Dreamliner symbolises the environmentally-kinder aircraft of the future – cleaner, quieter, lighter and truly the best experience in the air."

The 787-9 Dreamliner will bring even more benefits to Virgin Atlantic travellers. The aircraft has the biggest windows in the air, giving all passengers clear views of the horizon; an even better cabin environment, including higher ceilings and larger luggage bins; and greater long-range capability (up to 8,500 nautical miles) enabling trips from London to Perth or Hawaii, for example, without stopping en route. A more direct route uses less fuel, with fewer take-offs and landings reducing aircraft noise as well as freeing-up airport slots with fewer connecting passengers.

The new Virgin Atlantic 787 Dreamliners will enable the airline to continue its global expansion, possibly flying to cities including Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, Vancouver, Bangkok and Melbourne.