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Skymark to abolish uniforms of cabin crew, ground workers.

TOKYO, Feb. 14 Kyodo

Skymark Airlines Inc. will abolish pilot, cabin crew and ground worker uniforms as early as in April, providing them with polo shirts and windbreakers instead, company officials said Saturday.

With the decision, unprecedented in Japan, the airline aims to pass on cost-cutting results to customers, the officials said.

The design of the polo shirts and windbreakers has yet to be decided, they said, adding that the color of the airline's logo, yellow, is likely to be adopted.

But not a few women seek to work as cabin attendants out of a longing for the uniform. One 21-year-old female university student sounded negative about the plan, saying, ''I will not take (Skymark's) recruitment exam if it has no uniform.''

Even some within the company said they will miss the uniforms, while other airlines noted positive effect of uniforms, with one official saying, ''(Employees) are holding back to quit even at lower pay because of uniforms.''

Although Japanese aviation law stipulates nothing about uniforms for crew, transport ministry officials said it is necessary for them to wear clothing that makes them conspicuously different from passengers in the event of an emergency.

According to Charlie Furusho, an aerial photographer, several overseas airlines such as Southwest Airlines Co. of the Untied States and some based in Switzerland have adopted polo shirts for cabin attendants.

While welcoming Skymark's plan if it leads to further cuts in airfare, he said pilots had better wear uniforms for security reasons such as terror prevention.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Feb 17, 2009
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