Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) EVA Air, one of Taiwan's two major airlines, launched its third-generation uniforms in a ceremony that also marked the retirement of the Boeing 747-400, a model which has served the carrier for 25 years.
More than 500 EVA staff, aviation geeks and travel agents burst into cheers when flight attendants strutted onto the catwalk wearing the new uniforms. The ceremony was held in a hangar where EVA positioned its retired jumbo jet as a backdrop.
Flight attendants on catwalk
The new uniforms keep the base color of verdelite like its predecessors, but are more fashionable with color blocks, geometric patterns and streamlined shapes designed to create a professional look with a classical style, explained Wang Chen Tsai-hsia (王陳彩霞), the lead designer, who hails from Taiwan's Shiatzy Chen fashion house.
The biggest highlight of the uniforms is the use of scarves, the carrier said, explaining that their colorful pattern was inspired by trees, which symbolizes EVA's continuous development.
"The greatest challenge along the course of developing the uniforms was that we had to make it look fashionable without compromising versatility," said EVA Chairman Steve Lin (林寶水), adding that the designing process began two years ago.
During that time, the airline arranged for the design team to visit airports to observe how its staff worked at check-in counters and in VIP lounges. The team also had conversations with the service staff about what they wanted in the new uniforms, Lin said.
The outfits will be worn beginning this November, replacing the current design, which was launched in 2003.
The women's uniforms feature standing collars that convey the idea of flying through the sky, with different colors such as red, pink and light green distinguishing crew members' ranks.
Uniforms for male staff are built around the three-piece business suit, with aircraft wings formed by green or orange dots standing out against the black ties to represent the idea of EVA's global network, the carrier said.
Besides giving an enthusiastic welcome to the new uniforms, the company bade a fond farewell to the decommissioned Boeing 747-400.
"We have flown Boeing 747-400s for almost a quarter of the century and used them to create a glorious chapter in EVA's history," Lin said.
The decommissioning of the planes is part of a global trend to phase out use of the older model of Boeing aircraft and is also part of efforts by EVA to upgrade its fleet.
Sam Lee (李昱寬) was lucky enough to be one of the 10 fans to win EVA's online lottery that drew more than 1,000 participants vying to attend the ceremony.
The 13-year-old, who took the High Speed Rail by himself from southern Taiwan's Tainan City to attend the ceremony in northern Taiwan's Taoyuan City, said he has been inspired by the aircraft.
"The jumbo jets are beautiful, and I have been longing to become a pilot because I want to fly in the blue, blue skies," Lee said, adding that however, his favorite aircraft model is the Airbus A321.
Over the past 25 years, EVA has operated a total of 18 Boeing 747-400s -- seven as passenger aircraft, three as cargo aircraft and eight for dual use.
Known for its stretched double-deck configuration, the jets enabled EVA to lead the industry in launching a fourth cabin class -- economy deluxe -- which offered passengers a level of service between business and economy class at an affordable price.