Virgin Atlantic Airways has scrapped plans to install bright-red urinals shaped like women's open lips at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, saying it had received complaints they were offensive.

"Virgin Atlantic was very sorry to hear of people's concerns about the design of the 'kisses' urinals to be fitted into our clubhouse at JFK Airport. We can assure everyone who complained to us that no offence was ever intended," Virgin spokesman John Riordan said in a statement.

Mr Riordan said the British company received several dozen complaints from people and groups including the National Organisation for Women (NOW) after its plans for the urinals had been made public.

NOW had posted a message on its website urging members to complain to Virgin chief Richard Branson.