Russian airline Aeroflot has denied accusations of discrimination against members of its cabin crew.
A group of employees, who dub themselves the STS in abbreviated Russian for “old, fat and ugly”, claim they have been sidelined as part of a “rebranding exercise”.
"They told us all that only the young and thin will fly abroad for Aeroflot," Aeroflot flight attendant Yevgenia Magurina told RFE/RL's Russian Service.
"We were all photographed en masse and measured -- some were even weighed," Magurina said. "This was done under the pretext of company rebranding and ordering new uniforms for staff."
The group said they have been prevented from flying on international routes, and instead given less unfashionable domestic services.
Aeroflot says it has investigated her claims and found 'no evidence' to support them, insisting employees from the group serves passengers on international and domestic flights, including to the US.
“These allegations are without foundation. Aeroflot does not discriminate based on age, sex, weight, appearance, religious or political convictions, or indeed any other grounds,” Aeroflot said in a statement.
“Aeroflot therefore robustly denies these baseless allegations and will vigorously defend itself if any legal proceedings come to court.”
In response to the specific allegations made in these articles, Aeroflot notes:
- Aeroflot does not place geographical restrictions on where its cabin staff may fly;
- Nor does Aeroflot restrict flight time for members of staff based on age or any other physical attributes, such as appearance;
- The allegation that Aeroflot prevents members of cabin crew from taking their full holiday allowance is baseless;
- The claim that the expert medical commission has been instructed to remove “old and ugly” cabin crew from flight duties is untrue.
It added: “Aeroflot acts at all times in accordance with Russian labour legislation, and in line with best international practice. We are an equal opportunities employer, and do not discriminate on the basis of appearance, age, race, gender, political or religious beliefs or indeed any other grounds.”
Aeroflot said it has investigated the claims and found no evidence to support the allegations. It said the claim that the expert medical commission has been instructed to remove “old and ugly” cabin crew from flight duties is “untrue”.
“In 2016, only four members of cabin crew aged between 56 and 60 failed mandatory medical examinations allowing them to fly, while 98 passed and continue to serve on flights both internationally and within Russia.”