Turkish Airlines grounds 'fat' flight attendants


Robeel Haq , August 9th, 2010

Turkish Airlines has placed 28 flight attendants on unpaid leave for being overweight, according to a newspaper report.

The employees have been ordered to lose weight over the next six months or risk a reassignment, stated the daily Haber Turk newspaper, citing a statement from the state-run carrier.

The move follows a series of previous warning to the flight attendants.

"Weight and height are important factors at all airlines. These criteria are important both in terms of appearance and the ability to move about," the statement said.

Izzet Levi, head of a cabin attendants' association who was among those furloughed, told Haber Turk he must drop 10 kilos (22 pounds) to reach 96 kilos if he is to return to his post.

“It’s not uncommon. But it would never happen in America, where you are forbidden to discriminate against someone because of their weight,” Oussama Salah, an aviation expert based in Abu Dhabi told The Media Line. “Air Arabia has a list of what your weighs has to be in relation to your height. Flight attendants were given three months to get in shape, after that they will be grounded. The cabin crew knew about it as it’s part of your employment contract and you need to follow it. But it’s individual and not the same across the board.”

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