High-visibility jackets have become an essential sartorial requirement for flight crews visiting the UK, following a directive by the Civil Aviation Authority concerning airside safety management. Although first issued in 1998, the effect of these requirements has taken time to become widely established since some of the smaller airfields have yet to implement them.
Primarily directed at the drivers of airside service vehicles in an attempt to reduce injury rates among ramp personnel, the directive has been given expanded status to the point that flight crews must wear either a fluorescent jacket or tabard while they are on the apron. The only relaxation at some airports is for corporate passengers to be accompanied by at least one escort wearing high-visibility clothing.
Inquiries by AIN established that most handling agents and airports will loan clothing or provide an escort if required, but one airport, Bournemouth International, requires flight crews to purchase a tabard from the airport for $14.
The wearing of this clothing has ramifications for airport security, and at many airports anyone seen airside in contravention of the regulations will find themselves the subject of investigation by security officers and removal to land-side without delay.