Russia's Aeroflot airline defeats discrimination claims

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Aeroflot flight attendants: The company sees them as Russia's "business card"

A Moscow court has rejected a female flight attendant's sex discrimination claim against the Russian national carrier Aeroflot.

It is the second such claim to be rejected in court this week.

The plaintiffs accused the airline of favouring slim and attractive cabin crew. Aeroflot said its rules were designed to ensure passenger safety.

Aeroflot said it "does not discriminate based on age, sex, weight, appearance, religious or political convictions".

In a statement to the BBC the airline called the allegations "without foundation".

Its application form for would-be flight attendants requires details of height, weight and clothing size.

In court, an Aeroflot official admitted that the airline regards heavily-built flight attendants as less suited to emergencies, when quick action is required.

Aeroflot sets 48 as the maximum clothing size for its stewardesses (L; 16 in UK; 42 in Germany; 14 in US), Russia's Kommersant news website reports.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Aeroflot has invested in many new airliners and high-profile global marketing

Yevgenia Magurina, whose complaint was rejected on Friday, is size 52.

Before the court ruling, she told the BBC's Outside Source radio programme that Aeroflot had transferred her to night flights inside Russia last summer. She was taken off international routes.

"In October my salary dropped significantly, apparently because I did not qualify for Aeroflot's size standards chart," she said.

"I just felt that it was impossible to keep silent any more. I have lost a lot of money, was exhausted after night flights, so I decided to take these extreme measures. They simply told me that Aeroflot has changed the rules of the game."

Besides passenger safety concerns, Aeroflot also argues that every extra kilogram of weight forces it to spend more on fuel.

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