Airline bmi regional has dusted off an archive of its uniforms to reveal some of the fashion statements that have kept it flying high with passengers over the decades.
While fashions changed, bmi regional’s commitment to exceptional service has remained consistent over the years – personified by its cabin crew. The Aberdeen and East Midlands based carrier, which flies to 22 destinations across the UK and Europe, embraced a colour spectrum from pale blue in the 1960s, green, brown and orange in the 1970s, pale grey and red in the 1980s, to navy and red in the 1990s and noughties, ensuring that its well-turned out crews were the epitome of in-flight style.
bmi regional’s 100-strong team of cabin crew today wear a predominantly navy uniform, accessorised with a boater style hat and tonal blue scarf or tie. They are a familiar site in airports from Aberdeen to Oslo and Paris to Milan, where its 20kg per person hold baggage allowance, free in-flight snacks and bar service, and 30-minute check-in make it the airline of choice among business and leisure travellers.
Paul Sies, Chief Commercial Officer at bmi regional said: “Good service, unlike some style trends, is never out of fashion. Over the decades we have seen some pretty strong fashion statements in our cabins as our uniforms balanced style with the practical requirements of the role. However, it is the people behind the uniforms who really make the difference. Our cabin crew are our brand ambassadors and help to ensure that the 500,000 customers who choose to fly with us each year enjoy a welcoming, personal and professional experience during their journey.
“Looking back through the archive reminds us how air travel has evolved over the decades. Today’s uniform is in keeping with our philosophy of providing on-time connections to key business and leisure destinations across the UK and Europe and is also worn by crew flying our extensive charter operations for private clients ranging from football clubs to motor manufacturers and corporates.”
“Our staff wear the bmi regional colours with pride and our passengers know that when they see someone wearing the uniform they will receive great service throughout their journey. No matter how our uniforms change in the future, passengers can be assured our excellent service is not a passing fad,” said Mr Sies.
The uniforms, which date back to the mid-1960s, are from a private collection and are modelled in the accompanying photograph by current bmi regional staff, starting with a belted pale blue cotton shirt dress introduced in 1964 for the summer season.
That was followed in 1970 by a trendy, mandarin outfit by Teddy Tinling, a fashion designer who specialised in celebrity tennis outfits. His bright orange A-line dress was worn with a high-crowned hat in orange felt.
In 1976, an in-house design in a palette of greens that focused on comfort and practicality became known as the ‘Maid Marion look’. That was replaced in 1978 by a new uniform by Garroulds, one of Britain’s leading designers and manufacturers of corportate clothing. It consisted of an A-line skirted suit with hip-length single-breasted jacket in a mink-coloured fabric with matching hat and a white, brown and rust striped blouse.
In 1988 an imaginative new uniform was introduced, nicknamed the Harlequin by those in the industry due to its distinctive diamond pattern. Designed by The Gibson Line, a Nottingham-based firm specialising in executive corporate wear, this was a contemporary and fun uniform.
In 1996 a new uniform was commissioned from Jaeger Corporate Wear and signified a complete departure from uniforms that had gone before. The result was a sophisticated look in dark navy with coordinated skirts, jackets, trousers and coats and boater-style hat. Staff were personally fitted for their uniforms.
The Jaeger design formed the basis of the bmi regional uniform that is worn today, as worn by the model in the middle of the photo.
bmi regional employs more than 400 people and operates an all-jet fleet of Embraer aircraft with a scheduled network serving 22 destinations across 10 countries, including Aberdeen, Bern, Bremen, Bristol, Brussels, Dusseldorf, East Midlands, Esbjerg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Jonkoping, Karlstad, Liege, Milan, Munich, Nantes, Newcastle, Norwich, Oslo, Paris and Toulouse.