Words by Zane Nikodemusa
Photos courtesy of airBaltic
According to fashion experts, the best airlines choose a balance of retro styling and modern cuts to give their pilots and flight attendants the most glamorous and professional looks possible. Here’s the airBaltic story.
Today’s flight attendant uniforms focus on comfort and safety, but they’re also a very important element of an airline’s identity. Since it was founded in 1995, airBaltic has gone through several changes in its cabin crew uniforms. To create a look that’s in tune with the airline’s business philosophy and its growing status as a major player in the airline industry, the company has at various times turned to leading Latvian fashion designers Sonita Pāvuliņa, Natālija Jansone, and Dāvids. However, the very first airBaltic cabin crew uniforms were made in conjunction with Scandinavian Airlines, because the Baltic company was established as a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines and the Latvian state. As a result, the flight attendants wore plain black skirts and jackets.
The first uniquely airBaltic uniform was designed in 1999 and incorporated the revamped airBaltic identity, which was a light blue logo with blue squares. It was a major event at the time, and the new uniform was unveiled at a big bash at the Latvian National Opera. The next big changes in airBaltic’s uniform design took place in 2004, when the airline developed a totally new brand with the lime green colour that it is known for today. Since then, uniform design has been changed on an average of every four to five years.
Previously, airBaltic pilots wore black uniforms and the cabin crew wore dark blue, but since 2018 both have worn the same colour. The pilots were also involved in creating the new uniforms. In the early stages, all of the employees could come in and see and feel the new material. Later they could also try on the sample uniforms. Input like this is very important, because pilots cannot be distracted from their job duties by uncomfortable clothes or itchy materials. Due to the fact that airBaltic has more and more female pilots, a more feminine version of the new pilot uniform was developed specially for them.
Today, the uniforms feature dark blue and lime green, the corporate colours of airBaltic. When the design process began for this new version of the uniforms (which were unveiled in 2018), airBaltic asked its cabin crew members for their input and to submit their own ideas, sketches, and descriptions for the new uniforms. Designer Inese Alhimoviča then combined a number of the best ideas and, in collaboration with the working group, drew up a number of sketches and made sample uniforms that were tested on real flights. From these, the final version was developed – new, attractive uniforms that represent airBaltic’s values and express quality, style, and professionalism.