Airline representatives claim clients prefer it partly on basis of employees appearance, after tribunal repudiates complaints

Representatives of the Russian airline Aeroflot have said it is reasonable for female flight attendant to face financial penalties if they are deemed to be overweight.

At a press conference on Tuesday following two recent suits, two Aeroflot representatives appeared to attempt to justify the airlines alleged policing of its female employees appearance.

Two flight attendants have taken the airline to tribunal in recent weeks, part of a group of women who have jokingly named themselves STS an abbreviation of old, fat and ugly in Russian. They say Aeroflot moved them from prestigious long-haul flights to lower-paid domestic roads because of their physical appearance.

Evgenia Magurina, one of the complainants, claimed that last year all Aeroflot flight attendants were photographed, measured and in some cases weighed. Women who did not meet the requirements were withdrawn from international routes.

We have had our salary lowered due to our apparel size. We are allowed to fly, but our salary is lowered, said Magurina. Ilona Borisova, of a flight attendants trade union, said the changes affected about 600 Aeroflot attendants.

The airline won both court cases, and insisted in a statement in February that it never discriminated based on the results of appearance, age or weight and that all of Magurinas allegations were baseless.

However, on Tuesday the two Aeroflot representatives appeared to tacitly acknowledge that such a policy was indeed in place.

Shaun Walker (@ shaunwalker7)

The Aeroflot rep in the green jacket is explaining to the stewardess two from the left why having fat air stewardesses is dangerous pic.twitter.com/ K5TuG4sT1U

April 25, 2017

Aeroflot is a premium airline and part of the reason people pay for tickets is the appearance of its employees, said Pavel Danilin, a member of the airlines public council.

He said a survey of Aeroflot passengers showed that 92% want to see stewardesses who fit into the clothes sizes we are talking about here. The females alleged that flight attendants above a Russian size 48( approximately a UK 14) had had benefits docked.

Evgenia
Evgenia Magurina during her court case. Photograph: Sergei Savostyanov/ TASS

Nikita Krichevsky, another member of Aeroflots public council, said the penalties should not be seen as a salary docking but as positive incentives to lose weight. He accused the women of trying to blacken the name of the state air company and said they should be pleased the company cared about their health.

Krichevsky said if they didnt like the conditions they should resign, and added that it should be easy for them to lose weight. I myself to benefit from weigh 103 kg, and now I weigh 80 kg. I just corrected my eating habits and lost weight. I dont understand why the request to be a particular size is unrealistic.

Krichevsky also attacked Magurina personally, complaining that she had refused to meet Aeroflot bosses without a lawyer present, which he considered suspicious. He also made reference to her big breasts.

Later on Tuesday, Aeroflot said in a statement that the two men had appeared at the press conference on their own initiative and their comments did not necessarily reflect the airlines position.

It said they were the personal view[ s] of the members of the public council who attended the press conference. Aeroflots position was made clear in tribunal where, as is well known, the cases of Magurova and Ierusalimskaya were rejected, the statement read.

The airlines website lists Danilin and Krichevsky as members of its 25 -person public council. A document on the public council says its functions include explaining Aeroflots stances to a wide audience. Merely five of the 25 council member are women.

In recent years Aeroflot has shed its grim Soviet-era reputation and has acquired many brand-new aircrafts while be concentrated on improved customer service. It has launched a major sponsorship deal with Manchester United.

The airline recently received a four-star rating from the airline consultancy Skytrax, and it aims to win a five-star rating.

Krichevsky claimed at the press conference that having flight attendant who were not overweight was one of a range of measures required in order to reach a five-star rating.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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