Turkish Plane 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Turkish Airlines told 13 female and 15 male flight attendants
that they have six months to lose weight or face reassignments, according to
“Weight and height are important factors at all airlines,”
a statement from the airline said. “These criteria are important both in terms
of appearance and the ability to move about.”
“It’s not uncommon,”
Oussama Salah, an aviation expert based in Abu Dhabi told The Media Line. “But
it would never happen in America, where you are forbidden to discriminate
against someone because of their weight.”
Turkish Airlines follows Air
Arabia, a low cost airline based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates which
has taken a similar approach.
“Air Arabia has a list of what your weighs
has to be in relation to your height,” Salah said. “Flight attendants were given
three months to get in shape, after that they will be grounded.”
cabin crew knew about it as it’s part of your employment contract and you need
to follow it,” he added. “But it’s individual and not the same across the
But British aviation expert Philip Butterworth-Hayes said that
this was the first time he had ever heard of such as case.
“I have never
heard of this before,” he told The Media Line. “This would never work in the
United States, where the body mass index of the passengers and attendants is
higher then anywhere else in the world.”
Butterworth-Hayes said fitness
was important for certain flight attendant tasks.
“The only issue would
be if [the attendants] can get all the people off the aircraft fast and if they
are fit enough to handle the emergency exits, which is the most important part
of their job,” he said.
Turkish Airlines was founded in 1933 as part of
the Turkish Ministry of Defense, with the first international route to the Greek
capital Athens inaugurated in 1947.
In 1955, it was restructured and
renamed Turkish Airlines. While the state still controls 50.9 percent of the
company’s shares, the rest are held by privates investors.
Turkish Airlines joined the Star Alliance network, which includes airlines such
as Continental, United, Air Canada and Germany’s Lufthansa.
company has 142 modern aircrafts ranging from the Airbus 340 to Boeing
It carries 25 million passengers per year to 158 destinations world
While its now illegal to discriminate against flight attendants in
the US, up until the 1990s cabin crew could be fired for a number of
such as getting married, wearing glasses and if they where overweight.
a number of lawsuits and negotiations between airlines and unions the
1990s, such tactics ended.
A number of overweight people have sued
airlines over discrimination after they were forced to pay for an extra